Sunrise (5/23/11)

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OHIO GOV BFF STARTS LOBBYING PRACTICE

–Columbus Dispatch: “A half-dozen blocks south of the Statehouse, Donald G. Thibaut’s red clapboard house in German Village has become a center of political power in Ohio. … Gov. John Kasich’s best friend has set up a lobbying shop, signing up a dozen blue-chip companies. His overnight success as a first-time lobbyist is turning heads on Capitol Square – and testing the credibility of Kasich’s oft-made promise that friends will get no special treatment. … Neither Kasich nor Thibaut see any problem, but others wonder whether the governor’s close ties to Thibaut and two other lobbyists who are members of Kasich’s inner circle of advisers might open the governor to charges of hypocrisy. … “The perception is that they’re cashing in,” said one prominent Republican who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.”

BIG SMALL BIZ GROUP AVOIDS DEBIT FEE DEBATE

The Hill: “The National Federation of Independent Business, which bills itself as “The Voice of Small Business”, has been virtually silent in perhaps the biggest policy battle affecting small businesses in Congress this year: debit-card transaction fees. … Aside from posting a relatively obscure statement of support on its website, NFIB, one of the most powerful trade associations in Washington, has largely stayed out of the fight. … Congressional aides, business lobbyists and small-business owners around the country who favor capping debit-card fees say that NFIB’s lack of action is puzzling and disappointing. … “They started out as an organization supported by small businesses and there are still a lot of small businesses that belong,” said Mary Noel Black, who owns a UPS franchise in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Oddly enough, they haven’t come on board, they haven’t come out one way or the other, which is unusual.”

EARMARKS SLIP INTO DEFENSE AUTH

AP: “Hard-charging Republicans who rallied voters last year with cries of “Stop the spending, ban the earmarks” are quietly offering a more familiar Washington refrain now they’re in Congress – not in my backyard. … The massive, $553 billion bill providing a budget for the Pentagon boasts millions of dollars that President Barack Obama didn’t request for weapons programs, installations and other projects in districts from Illinois to Mississippi represented by House GOP freshmen. The additions look suspiciously like the pet projects that Republicans prohibited when they took over the House and that the new class of lawmakers, many with tea party backing, swore off in a promise to change Washington’s spending habits.”

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