At the American Spectator dinner, where Rand Paul is seated at the head table next to David Koch.
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) February 12, 2015
Lee Fang, at The Nation:
… While all eyes were on the changing of the guard in Congress as Republicans seized control of the US Senate in January, there was an equally profound change taking place among Capitol Hill staff, as many GOP lawmakers handed over the keys to corporate lobbyists like Leftwich.
“We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in K Street moving into congressional staff positions since the Citizens United decision,” says Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s expert on lobbying and ethics. House Speaker John Boehner, he notes, has “encouraged new members to employ lobbyists on their personal and committee staff.”
On almost any big issue coming up for debate during the final two years of the Obama administration—surveillance, trade, healthcare, entitlements, tax reform, climate change—corporate lobbyists will now be attempting to influence their own former colleagues, whose salaries are now covered by US taxpayers.
The new staff director of the House Intelligence Committee, Jeff Shockey, comes to the Hill after working as a lobbyist for many of the country’s leading intelligence-agency contractors, including General Dynamics, Boeing and, just last year, Academi, the firm formerly known as Blackwater. The House Oversight Committee, a key investigative body, will now have a staff director named Sean McLaughlin, a former corporate lobbyist who spent the past three years as a principal at the Podesta Group. Tom Chapman, who earned compensation worth $1,531,453 in 2014 as vice president of government affairs for US Airways, will now earn considerably less as part of the counsel staff for the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, which oversees his former employer. And as Congress takes up tax reform, one of the latest hires to the Joint Committee on Taxation is Ben Gross, who spent more than a decade as international tax director for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a firm that specializes in helping corporations avoid American taxes.
Lobbyists have been hired to help the offices of the most controversial addition to the GOP leadership team, Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, now House majority whip… In a party at the posh Capitol Hill Club, a private meeting ground for Republicans that has been sued by its employees for alleged racial discrimination, nearly 300 lobbyists cheered the embattled lawmaker as he laid out his agenda for the coming session, according to Politico. Scalise was flanked by one of his newest staffers, Bill Hughes, formerly a lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a powerful trade group that has pressured lawmakers to drop efforts to raise the minimum wage.
And why not celebrate? Scalise is beloved by Washington’s army of influence-peddlers for his loyalty to the Beltway’s lobbyist elite. In his previous position as chair of the Republican Study Committee, Scalise welcomed the “K Street community” at special business-outreach events attended by representatives of such major firms as Halliburton, MasterCard, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. The news that Scalise would move up the leadership ladder was celebrated by Koch Industries lobbyists, who threw a tony wine-tasting party featuring “pinots from Oregon and the central coast of California.” Soon after ascending to his new post, Scalise shocked many by having a registered lobbyist, John Feehery, sit in as applicants interviewed for jobs…
Via Billmon (this tweet stream here):
Brought to you by the good people at Koch Industries — "Bringing Dead 19th Century Things Back to Life" — & the National Football League.
— Billmon (@billmon1) February 12, 2015