Thursday, December 9, 2010

When change means some of the same old lobbyists

AS THE POLITICAL reformers crowd into the new Congress, you can put the following report under the heading of, the more things change the more they stay the same.

ITEM: When Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landreau flew out of the chute to savage President Obama's tax compromise as "nonsensicalness and almost, you know, moral corruptness," it left me, you know, with the feeling that Katrina had garbled her memory (she did also defend BP on the oil spill, you know, you know. The problem with her outrage, however, is that she voted in favor of the Bush tax cuts in the early 90s.

ITEM: Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, of Arizona, an ardent opponent of earmarks, did manage to get a big one for old times' sake by slipping into another bill a $200 million Federal grant to one of his state's Indian tribes. His office insisted it wasn't an earmark. Right. Problem solved.

ITEM: The Washington Post had this to say about the all of the fresh faces who are arriving on Capitol Hill to clean up government: "Many incoming GOP lawmakers have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides. Several of the candidates have strong support from the anti-establishment Tea Party movement." And as Think Progress pointed out, "These lobbyists are not public servants. They are experts at carving out special deals and tax giveaways to powerful corporations."

Want a prominent example? Rep.-elect Mike Pompeo of Kansas has named Mark Chenowerth as his chief of staff. Chenowerth is a former lawyer-lobbyist for Koch Industries, owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch. They are remembered as the major sugar daddies of the Tea Partyers in the past campaign. (Guess where Chenowerth is going with this one to look after all of those angry little folks who want their government back!)

So far more than a dozen pols have been identified as having hired big-time lobbyists to shape the style of their humble offices.

I wonder if any of this has gotten back to the raging placard-wavers at the Tea Party rallies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They may try to eliminate earmarks, but phone-marking and pressuring agencies through witholding funding will take precedence. Instead of inserting things into bills, everything will be done behind the scenes and away from snooping public eyes.