The vast majority of this spending is aimed at Republicans.Continue reading
As Americans struggle through complex rules and messy paperwork to meet today's tax deadline, it might be somewhat discomforting to know that some companies are lobbying against simplifying the arduous process.Continue reading
As “fiscal cliff” negotiations continue to slow to a standstill, Americans might be feeling frustrated about the inability of their representatives to reach a compromise. Wasn’t the election supposed to settle the argument? There are many reasons to explain the intransigence. Last week, we documented the ubiquitous lobbying on tax and budget issues that will almost certainly complicate any attempt to reach a deal. But there’s another factor to keep in mind: The majority of members of Congress have relatively homogenous constituencies. That means they’re probably hearing overwhelmingly from only one side of the argument back home, and facing limited pressure to find a compromise.Continue reading
Sunlight calculates outside spenders return on investment for congressional races and hosts a webinar on how to use the dataContinue reading
With the election over, a Congress full of lame ducks -- along with next year's class of soon-to-be sworn-in lawmakers, ready for freshmen orientation -- returns to Washington next week. Lobbyists and special interests that opened their wallets for candidates are poised to call in chits in a tense environment dominated by the budget impasse that threatens to impose sweeping automatic cuts to defense and social programs if Congress doesn't act.
Top CEOs of more than 80 companies issued a statement on October 25 calling on Congress to solve the issue by considering tax increases along with spending cuts. In ...Continue reading
Dark money group Americans for Tax Reform just dropped close to $2 million to influence competitive House races.
Victories for the 501(c)4 non-profit lobbying organization, founded by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist in 1985, would undoubtedly complicate efforts to reach a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" because the group "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle." ATR's central tenet -- the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which requires lawmakers to "solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases," enjoys the backing most Republicans in Congress and all but one of this year's GOP presidential ...Continue reading
- Conservative activist Grover Norquist called [sw: John McCain] (R-Ariz.) "delusional" for exposing Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) as a shadow lobbying operation and a conduit for Jack Abramoff's money laundering. (The Hill)
- Congress put itself in a crunch this year when it decided to set a schedule that, in total, is shorter than a school year and may prove to be shorter than any meeting schedule in the past sixty years. They must now push through numerous important bills with only July and possibly September left. (Christian Science Monitor)
- Democrats are upset with one of their main funding sources, labor unions, because they are contributing campaign funds to highly vulnerable Republicans. One labor lobbyist believes that "Democrats can’t expect unions to place all their bets on Democratic candidates and risk being shut out of the legislative process if they lose." (The Hill)
- Clients continue to drop the lobbying firm Copeland Lowery because of its involvement in the growing investigation into Appropriations Chair [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-Calif.). Riverside County, Boeing Co., and now the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority have all severed their ties to the embattled lobbying firm. (San Bernardino Sun)
- The San Bernardino Sun reports on the release of documents in the [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-Calif.) investigation. In the documents Lewis' wife, Arlene Willis, recommends the lobbying firm at the center of the investigation, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, to San Bernardino County.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune traces the arc of success for defense contractors that have hired the Lowery law firm to lobby Appropriations Chair [sw: Jerry Lewis]. Orincon, a software engineering company, hired Bill Lowery in the late 1990s and, through the earmarking of funds by Lowery's friend Lewis, saw their "growth curve turned sharply upward." Daniel Alspach, the head of Orincon, and "Lowery would visit Lewis' office, meeting with Letitia White and sometimes with Lewis himself". From the mid-1990s to 2003 Orincon's sales, "heavily dependent on federal contracts," shot from $10 million to $52 million. When Alspach eventually sold his company to Lockheed in 2003 Lowery cashed out too having collected thousands of shares in the company which he lobbied for. Trident Systems, Inc. follows a simliar path having found success after hiring Lowery lobbyist Letitia White to collect earmarks from Lewis. White and Trident owner Nicholas Karangelen own a DC townhouse together which serves as the mailing address for Karangelen's Small Biz Tech PAC, which happens to be run by Lewis' stepdaughter. White also has deal with Trident that seems to similar to Lowery's receipt of shares in Orincon. Karangelen "has arranged to pay [White] a bonus based on the company's profitability."
- The Washington Post reports that conservative power house Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform "served as a "conduit" for funds that flowed from Abramoff's clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns. As the money passed through, Norquist's organization kept a small cut, e-mails show." Abramoff also used, with the acquiesance of the heads of the organization, numerous other non-profits associated with the conservative movement to funnel money, hiding his activities, in his illegal schemes. These organizations included the National Center for Public Policy Research, headed by Amy Ridenour and the Council of Republican Environmental Advocacy, headed by Italia Federici. Continue reading
The Hill reports that Grover Norquist, head of American for Tax Reform and a close friend of Jack Abramoff, wants to trademark the term “K Street Project” and is defending the project from critics.
Conservative activist Grover Norquist is seeking a trademark on “K Street Project,” saying Democrats and Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have wrongfully acquired the term to describe unethical practices that have nothing to do with his organization.
Norquist’s trademark application could take up to a year and a half to be processed.
“Some people say Kleenex when they mean tissue,” Norquist said. “We will jealously guard the real phrasing the way Kleenex and Coca-Cola do. We will sue anyone who says it wrong and make lots of money.”
Norquist founded the K Street Project to pressure lobbying firms into hiring Republican lobbyists. The project was launched after the Republican revolution of 1994 and then accelerated after George W. Bush was elected President in 2000. Reps. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Dick Armey (R-TX) worked closely with Norquist on the House side while Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) ran the project’s Tuesday meetings where lists of job openings were passed around and the lobbyists and political operatives who attended would discuss which Republicans should fill the jobs.Continue reading
Rep. Katherine Harris’ (R-FL) run for the US Senate is in danger of being torpedoed, according to the New York Times, after it was revealed in a plea agreement that defense contractor Mitchell Wade gave Harris’ campaign illegal donations totaling $32,000 and later asked for her help in securing a government contract. … The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) “could draw scrutiny from the IRS” which is “launching enhanced education and enforcement efforts, based on the findings and analysis of the 2004 election cycle,” according to The Hill. CREW claims, “There is clearly a pattern of attempting to intimidate organizations that criticize Republican members of Congress. … Frankly, it won’t work. We will not be bullied into silence.” … Meanwhile CREW is filing a complaint with the IRS stating that the activities of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform Foundation “may violate IRS regulations and require a revocation of their tax-exempt status.” … The Toledo Blade reports that Ohio GOP fundraiser and coin collector Tom Noe will stand trial on political money laundering charges on July 24th. … Roll Call reports that in the post-Abramoff atmosphere lobbyists are “going back to class” to brush up on their ethics. American League of Lobbyists President Paul Miller provides this priceless story, “When he told his mother 10 years ago that he was going into ‘government relations,’ she said, ‘Oh, you’re the guy who takes the bags of money to Members of Congress!’”Continue reading