The WaPo newsroom had a solid piece on Toyota’s lobbying efforts yesterday:
With company officials still reeling from recalls of their most popular models, the firm has hired crisis-management experts from Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a bipartisan lobbying firm, and from Glover Park Group, a Democratic public affairs and lobbying operation. The teams join a force of 32 lobbyists already working Capitol Hill on behalf of Toyota and the Toyota dealerships’ political action committee, Gulf States Toyota.
Toyota already has an advantage built over a decade of targeted political giving. More than 40 percent of the 125 members of Congress serving on the three committees investigating Toyota have received campaign donations over the past 10 years, a total of $135,673 from the Toyota dealers’ PAC, from dealership owners and employees, and from staff at Toyota’s U.S. operation, a Washington Post analysis shows. Members of Congress received an additional $1 million for their campaigns through giving to state parties and PACs.
Toyota Motor North America also has backed charities and other nonprofit groups with strong ties to members of Congress, giving $1 million in 2008 and 2009. Some of that money financed events honoring or entertaining the members.
Today, the WaPo opinion page has a piece by Haley Barbour about how great Toyota is.
My point here isn’t to trash Kaplan editorials, my point is that nothing will come of this Toyota safety thing because Toyota, like other big companies, has our government in its pocket. It doesn’t matter if the company is foreign or domestic, but it does seem especially striking when the company is foreign.