Earlier this week, the Associated Press profiled the phenomenally successful career, by Washington standards at least, of Ed Gillespie, now Counselor to the preisdent, and former and likely future mega-lobbyist. The catalyst for the story was the AP getting a hold of Gillespie’s 18-page financial disclosure report he submitted to the Office of Government Ethics as a White House staffer.
The document reports "assets of between $7.86 million and $19.4 million when he began working at the White House in June, illustrating the wealth available to those at the top of Washington’s lobbying industry." Gillespie got rich as a founding principal of Quinn, Gillespie & Associates, a lobbying firm he started in 2000 with former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn. The firm has been hugely successful, having earned $18,000,000 in income in 2006 and almost $9,000,000 so far this year. The firm represents such clients as the American Hospital Association, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Delta Airlines, General Electric, the National Association of Realtors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Sony, State Farm Insurance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Verizon and XM Satellite Radio.
In 2001, The New Republic dubbed Gillespie, at age 39, Washington’s top fixer and "the most powerful Bushie you’ve never heard of." In 2003, Bush named Gillespie chair of the Republican National Committee. At that time, Public Citizen put out an exhaustive report on Gillespie titled The Embedded Lobbyist, and his position as chairman allowed him to have one foot in the White House and the other on K Street, a stance of inherent conflicts of interest. In his new position as Counselor to the President, Gillespie will be handling most of the tasks of the departed Dan Bartlett and Karl Rove. His former and possibly future clients know that their man is at the right hand of the president, a very lucrative spot to be in.