Santorum Denies Knowing Anything About This ‘Senate’ Club

Rick Santorum in today’s Post-Gazette:

“I had absolutely nothing to do — never met, never talked, never coordinated, never did anything — with Grover Norquist and the — quote — K Street Project,” Mr. Santorum said.

Rick Santorum on November 15, 2005:

The K Street project is purely to make sure we have qualified applicants for positions that are in town,” Mr. Santorum said. “From my perspective, it’s a good government thing.”

From Nick Confessore’s landmark piece on the K Project in the Washington Monthly, 2003:

…[T]here’s one confirmation hearing you won’t hear much about. It’s convened every Tuesday morning by Rick Santorum, the junior senator from Pennsylvania, in the privacy of a Capitol Hill conference room, for a handpicked group of two dozen or so Republican lobbyists. Occasionally, one or two other senators or a representative from the White House will attend. Democrats are not invited, and neither is the press.

The chief purpose of these gatherings is to discuss jobs — specifically, the top one or two positions at the biggest and most important industry trade associations and corporate offices centered around Washington’s K Street, a canyon of nondescript office buildings a few blocks north of the White House that is to influence-peddling what Wall Street is to finance. In the past, those people were about as likely to be Democrats as Republicans, a practice that ensured K Street firms would have clout no matter which party was in power. But beginning with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, and accelerating in 2001, when George W. Bush became president, the GOP has made a determined effort to undermine the bipartisan complexion of K Street. And Santorum’s Tuesday meetings are a crucial part of that effort.

Every week, the lobbyists present pass around a list of the jobs available and discuss whom to support. Santorum’s responsibility is to make sure each one is filled by a loyal Republican — a senator’s chief of staff, for instance, or a top White House aide, or another lobbyist whose reliability has been demonstrated. After Santorum settles on a candidate, the lobbyists present make sure it is known whom the Republican leadership favors. “The underlying theme was [to] place Republicans in key positions on K Street. Everybody taking part was a Republican and understood that that was the purpose of what we were doing,” says Rod Chandler, a retired congressman and lobbyist who has participated in the Santorum meetings. “It’s been a very successful effort.”

Rick Santorum, January 17, 2006:

SANTORUM: Well, I don’t know what you mean by Senate liaison to the, quote, “K Street Project.” I’m not aware of any Senate liaison job that I do for the K Street Project.

What I’ve done is I do host meetings, you know, once or twice a month with members who represent a variety of different groups in Washington, D.C.

Reported in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, 6/18/2002:

Santorum’s objective in completing the Project was clarified by Senate Republican Conference spokesman Robert Traynham, “Sen. Santorum’s objective is very clear and that is to find experienced, talented individuals who are going to assist Senate Republicans in advancing the president’s agenda.”

From the WaPo, 10/12/2004:

The Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood’s trade group, had been hoping for $350 million a year in subsidies, which were written into the Senate version of the bill as partial compensation for the loss of a bigger export subsidy that the bill repeals. But the Senate’s largesse was cut back to around $100 million in the final bill that emerged from the House-Senate conference, leaving the movie industry as the biggest net loser from the legislation.

Why did the movie studios, which usually lobby with the best of them, lose out? Perhaps because three months ago they had the temerity to choose Dan Glickman, a Democrat, to head their trade association. The congressional Republican leadership, which had the final say on the tax bill, made no secret of its fury that a plum lobbying job had not gone to a Republican: Grover Norquist, a close ally of House Republicans, called Mr. Glickman’s appointment “a studied insult,” adding that the movie industry’s “ability to work with the House and Senate is greatly reduced.” Commenting on the movie moguls’ comeuppance last week, Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.) told Brody Mullins of Roll Call that “it’s a good idea to have someone who can communicate with those who are in power,” and that “[i]t’s a consideration that any organization hiring a lobbyist should take into account.”

Deny me three times…

(Wink and a nod to Josh Marshall)






42 replies
  1. 1
    John Cole says:

    He really is a piece of work, isn’t he.

  2. 2
    Krista says:

    Well, if “shit” is a synonym for “work”, then yes…yes he is.

  3. 3
    Lines says:

    How big is Santorum’s taint?

  4. 4
    jg says:

    None of that matters. As Stormy and Darrell have pointed out, someone will find a way to spin this so the folks in teh ‘heartland’ can ignore it or see it as lefty partisan attacks. If you think about it these articles are just what the media bashers are looking for.

  5. 5
    neil says:

    Tim F., by emphasizing Republican hypocrisy, you’re putting this blog in exactly the same category as the Communist International and MoveOn.Org. I’m sure John doesn’t appreciate that. Can you please try to focus on more acceptable issues, like how corruption crosses party lines, or how liberal commentators are incivil?

  6. 6
    jaime says:

    I’m sure there’s a way to work in a ‘Clinton did it, too’ somewhere.

  7. 7
    Jill says:

    By this summer Santorums’s lies will appear to be courageous and just what Pennsylvania needs.

  8. 8

    Can you please try to focus on more acceptable issues, like how corruption crosses party lines, or how liberal commentators are incivil?

    Did you catch the Panel Discussion yesterday between Jim Brady at the Post and a couple of bloggers?

    It was just amazing how Jim Brady just doesn’t get it. The other guys were basically pointing out that comments on a newspaper website are fine, but if it appears that the newspaper is not listening that’s when it turns ugly.

    Brady just kept whining about how uncivil they were. Over and over. He refused to talk about the substance of the issue or anything like that.

  9. 9
    Krista says:

    Lines Says:

    How big is Santorum’s taint?

    Ew… Christ, Lines, you know I’m a very visual thinker. Don’t put stuff like that in my head! Unclean! Unclean! Must now imagine happy puppies frolicking through fields!

  10. 10
    Dougie says:

    When will the liberal jewish elite secular media report on the good things happening with the tightening of Washington lawmakers and lobbying firms?

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    It concerns me that Santorum-Casey is shaping up quite a bit like Bush-Kerry.

    Santorum is unpopular for a lot of reason, but it’s clear there are many True Believers who will stand by him no matter what, and they think he is a rock star.

    Casey is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this unpopularity, but he is a dull candidate, no one is very enthusiastic about him, and he has a way of annoyingly triangulating at just the wrong moment.

    At the end of the day, even though the numbers say Casey should be able to win in a walk, people don’t go out and knock on doors and make phone calls for a candidate they’re just not that enthused about. And Santorum didn’t get this far by being completely clueless about how to campaign. So I expect a close one.

  12. 12
    Mean Gene says:

    I, for one, am proud to call Rick Santorum my Senator, and a fellow Penn Stater. Wait…”proud” isn’t the word I’m looking for. No…appalled. Ah, yes, the mot juste.

    While the words “pity” and “Santorum” are difficult to place together, you gotta feel a wee little bad for Ricky. He knows full well that he would make a perfect Senatorial scapegoat for this little lobbying brouhaha. Even before this broke he was way behind Casey in the polls, and electoral failure is not tolerated well by the GOP. If he’s going to lose anyway, why not toss him to the liberal mob which has lusted so for his blood? He could still serve some Rovian purpose, even if that seat must be sacrificed.

    I’ll bet poor Ricky goes to his computer every few hours to Google “santorum rogue” or “santorum renegade” or “santorum abramoff out of control” to see which right-wing blog draws the first of what would no doubt be many, many long knives. And goodness knows, it isn’t like he’s going to have a soft landing at some K Street lobbying firm. He’s never heard of K Street! Never walked along K Street. Never eaten “Special K”. Never watched any Sesame Street episode brought to you by the letter “K”.

  13. 13
    Tim F. says:

    I hope that he doesn’t google ‘Santorum.’

  14. 14
    Otto Man says:

    Brady just kept whining about how uncivil they were. Over and over. He refused to talk about the substance of the issue or anything like that.

    I saw that, too. He must’ve had someone else doing his typing for him, because he was clearly clutching his pearls and hanky the entire time.

  15. 15
    Pooh says:

    I think Brady made the mistake of reading FireDogLake before he went into the chat room. To be fair to him, I would be feeling defensive too. The fact that their charges were factually accurate doesn’t make you feel better about being called a mow-ron…

  16. 16
    SeesThroughIt says:

    How big is Santorum’s taint?

    Ew… Christ, Lines, you know I’m a very visual thinker. Don’t put stuff like that in my head! Unclean! Unclean! Must now imagine happy puppies frolicking through fields!

    Krista–I think Lines was making reference to a recent spot on The Daily Show in which they discussed how the Abramoff scandal has put a taint on Washington, and it very quickly turned into an extended riff on large, um, taints, complete with visual aids (they drew a map of the taint in Washington with the Washington Monument, Capitol building, and White House serving as the cock-n-balls). It was hilariously juvenile.

  17. 17
    Krista says:

    SeesThroughIt – I must have missed that one. Too bad…it sounds like it was priceless!

    I still prefer to think of most politicians as being sans genitalia. Just Ken-doll style lumps. Because once you’ve imagined Dick Cheney’s limp, old-man penis, you really can’t un-imagine it.

  18. 18

    I think Brady made the mistake of reading FireDogLake before he went into the chat room. To be fair to him, I would be feeling defensive too. The fact that their charges were factually accurate doesn’t make you feel better about being called a mow-ron…

    What I think they are just starting to realize is that this game of Republican-Political Correctness isn’t working out for them. I mean the act of adding shit to the story to try to pander to the Republican masses, so they don’t get called names by them.

    It’s resulted in stories which are factually inaccurate and in many cases just down right insulting.

    But they don’t see that, because they are locked in their own little bubble of inside the beltway bias.

    I think it’s good that lefties are not whacking on them. Kos posted an interesting link to an essay about this from one of Kerry’s former advisors. Basically the gist was, Democrats need to start treating the media as the enemy, because that’s what they are.

  19. 19
    Dave Ruddell says:

    Let’s be thankful for Dan Savage, or rather, his readers.

  20. 20
    Jorge says:

    I know this joke is very 1998, but

    “The first rule of the K street project is that there is no K street project”

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    It’s resulted in stories which are factually inaccurate and in many cases just down right insulting.

    I always loved the Bill Frist quotes that directly contradicted each other in the Terri Shavio affair. You’re always left wondering if Republicans have ever grasped the concept of recordable media.

  22. 22
    kchiker says:

    I can’t even think about Santorum without recalling the story about him gathering his children to cuddle and kiss their recently stillborn fetus. No horror movie can replicate THOSE heebie jeebies.

    UGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHHH.

  23. 23

    SeesThroughIt – I must have missed that one. Too bad…it sounds like it was priceless!

    One of the best Daily Show segments ever, in my opinion.

  24. 24
    SeesThroughIt says:

    One of the best Daily Show segments ever, in my opinion.

    Well, to me, the Best. Segment. Ever. was when they had Bush the candidate debate Bush the president via clips from debates and speaking appearances, followed closely by Colbert’s segment in which he declared, “The facts are biased against the president!” But this taint one was pretty damn funny.

  25. 25
    Pooh says:

    Other Steve, no doubt. The Howell ‘reporting’ sucked. But it’s understandable (though not really excusable) why he was defensive in the chat, is all I’m saying.

  26. 26
    jupiter says:

    Longtime lurker — I feel compelled to share my favorite Daily Show moment. It’s a classic, from shortly after The Pretzel Incident. Stewart did a fairly straight newser, showing Bush’s face and giving the official explanation. Then Stewart paused and said, “In two years, we’ve gone from a president who can lobby a congressman on foreign policy while getting a blow job under his desk, to a president who can’t eat pretzels and watch TV without hurting himself.”

    For my money, he’ll never top that.

    /back to lurking

  27. 27
    MMM says:

    Whether it comes out of his mouth or somewhere else, it is still santorum…

  28. 28
    ChristieS says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!! I missed that show. What a fabulous one-liner.

    “In two years, we’ve gone from a president who can lobby a congressman on foreign policy while getting a blow job under his desk, to a president who can’t eat pretzels and watch TV without hurting himself.”

  29. 29
    Krista says:

    “In two years, we’ve gone from a president who can lobby a congressman on foreign policy while getting a blow job under his desk, to a president who can’t eat pretzels and watch TV without hurting himself.”

    Jupiter — fantastic.

    I REALLY heart Jon Stewart.

  30. 30
    Sojourner says:

    I still prefer to think of most politicians as being sans genitalia. Just Ken-doll style lumps. Because once you’ve imagined Dick Cheney’s limp, old-man penis, you really can’t un-imagine it.

    KRISTA!!!! For pete’s sake!! Have mercy, woman!

    EEEWEWEWEWEWEW!!

    I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.

    Thanks alot.

  31. 31
    Jess says:

    Because once you’ve imagined Dick Cheney’s limp, old-man penis, you really can’t un-imagine it.

    Yeah, thanks Krista…you owe us bigtime. better post some puppy pictures or something.

  32. 32
    Mark-NC says:

    jg Says:

    None of that matters. As Stormy and Darrell have pointed out, someone will find a way to spin this so the folks in teh ‘heartland’ can ignore it or see it as lefty partisan attacks. If you think about it these articles are just what the media bashers are looking for.

    Sadly, you’re probably right.

    The Republicans spent eight non-stop years of running Clinton into the ground because he dodged the draft – then thought nothing of running a draft dodger who deserted his military post. Truly amazing to watch.

    Anyone who can call that reasonable with a straight face is capable of buying ANY argument about any topic!

  33. 33
    Krista says:

    Sojourner, Jess — sorry.

    Actually, no, I’m not. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

  34. 34
    Sine.Qua.Non says:

    Excellent job Tim. Excellent!

  35. 35
    Sine.Qua.Non says:

    neil Says:

    Tim F., by emphasizing Republican hypocrisy, you’re putting this blog in exactly the same category as the Communist International and MoveOn.Org. I’m sure John doesn’t appreciate that.

    I suspect John can speak for himself, and wow, he apparently did in the very first comment here. You are way off base Neil. Out of line and out of the park.

    Cripes……..give us all break from this blindness.

  36. 36
    BumperStickerist says:

    regarding ‘the heartland’

    This is a Pennsylvania Senate race, so the ‘heartland’ here consists of places west of Philly and east of Pittsburgh.

    Also, there’s no problem with the good folks of Pennsylvania playing the WV/Mass. and voting for the worse candidate but the guy who has pull in the Senate.

    Right?

  37. 37
    Tim F. says:

    Sine Qua Non,

    Ever since DougJ became a verb we’ve had an infestation of posters doing it. I wouldn’t pay Neil any mind.

  38. 38
    Cyrus says:

    Deny me three times…

    I just noticed this – a Christ reference in any way connected to Abramoff? No. That’s just wrong.

    (I know, sad that I just noticed this now. But in my defense, I picked up on the Christ symbolism in “Spider-Man 2” right away when a Catholic friend of mine had to be told, so I could be worse.)

    My favorite Jon Stewart bit was him on Crossfire. All of it was priceless, but the best part was the applause he got from Crossfire’s own studio audience. Forget Galloway vs. Hitchens; now that was a verbal beating worth seeing.

  39. 39
    ats says:

    I see Santorum as an enthusiastic member of the Knights of the White Camellia.

  40. 40
    ann says:

    Hey Dougie,

    Have you not noticed that Abramoff’s a Jew? And that the “liberal jewish elite secular media” continues to lambast him?? Wake up, dude. We’ve got a bunch of damn corrupt Republicans in power and it’s time we called them out on it. When we start to see results from this so-called “tightening” maybe we can utter a couple praises. But first everyone needs to be outed.
    And you’re damn right us liberals are elitist! Why the hell shouldn’t we be? I know that I’m better than a low-life anti-semite like yourself, so why not tout it?

  41. 41

    […] The political impact, of course, is enormous. People care about this story, which explains why Republicans and Democrats have fallen over each other to get out competing proposals to clean up DC (Republicans, it turns out, were just kidding about theirs). Two politicians in particular are looking at the sharp end of the public’s wrath over corruption in DC: Rick Santorum, whose dimming reelection prospects have forced him into an increasingly comical position of denying any knolwedge his own K Street Project, and of course Tom DeLay. Not to be unfair to Santorum, I feel obligated to point out, via Carpetbagger, that DeLay also isn’t above denying the obvious. […]

  42. 42

    […] The political impact, of course, is enormous. People care about this story, which explains why Republicans and Democrats have fallen over each other to get out competing proposals to clean up DC, although it turns out that Republicans were just kidding about theirs. Two politicians in particular are looking at the sharp end of the public’s wrath over corruption in DC: Rick Santorum, whose dimming reelection prospects have forced him into an increasingly comical position of denying any knolwedge his own K Street Project, and of course Tom DeLay. Not to be unfair to Santorum, I feel obligated to point out, via Carpetbagger, that DeLay also isn’t above denying the obvious. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The political impact, of course, is enormous. People care about this story, which explains why Republicans and Democrats have fallen over each other to get out competing proposals to clean up DC, although it turns out that Republicans were just kidding about theirs. Two politicians in particular are looking at the sharp end of the public’s wrath over corruption in DC: Rick Santorum, whose dimming reelection prospects have forced him into an increasingly comical position of denying any knolwedge his own K Street Project, and of course Tom DeLay. Not to be unfair to Santorum, I feel obligated to point out, via Carpetbagger, that DeLay also isn’t above denying the obvious. […]

  2. […] The political impact, of course, is enormous. People care about this story, which explains why Republicans and Democrats have fallen over each other to get out competing proposals to clean up DC (Republicans, it turns out, were just kidding about theirs). Two politicians in particular are looking at the sharp end of the public’s wrath over corruption in DC: Rick Santorum, whose dimming reelection prospects have forced him into an increasingly comical position of denying any knolwedge his own K Street Project, and of course Tom DeLay. Not to be unfair to Santorum, I feel obligated to point out, via Carpetbagger, that DeLay also isn’t above denying the obvious. […]

Comments are closed.