At GoodbyeJim.com, a site that closely monitors the member of Congress from my district--Rep. James Moran of Virginia's 8th district--Jonathan Marks has an interesting post about a small government contractor called MobilVox. In the 2004 election cycle, the firm's employees made modest campaign contributions to a trio of lawmakers--Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Rep. John Murtha, and Moran. In fiscal year 2005, according to FedSpending.org, the Navy awarded MobilVox a contract worth $507,092. Marks wonders whether it's worth looking at MobilVox more closely.Continue reading
One of the popular taglines used by Democratic candidates in this year’s elections was that the Republicans stormed into Washington in 1994 determined to change the way the capital works. Instead, came the punch line, Washington changed them. Links were tightened between the Republican leadership and the lobbyist community. Business groups won major legislative coups. Pet project earmarks exploded. Eventually scandals ensued.
Now, after a swift kick by the voters, the Democrats are back in control and K Street – the heart of the city’s lobbying community – is quickly adjusting to be ready when the new regime takes office in January. A story by Jeff Zeleny in today’s New York Times captures the mood:Continue reading
The above document, touting the merits of one Stacey Tallitsch, who lost his bid to represent Louisiana's 1st congressional district, is making the rounds of D.C. lobbying shops today:
Looking for a Democrat Lobbyist? My name is Stacey Tallitsch, a candidate for Congress from the '06 election cycle. If you're interested in finding someone who can work easily and is well known among the new majority, I'd be interested in helping out. Continue reading
Sometimes you don’t have to do more than open your newspaper to get lobbied in Washington. Last week, the Washington Post ran a profile of the centrist Louisiana Senator-turned-lobbyist John Breaux that ran more like a promotional piece for Breaux’ clients, and their positions on bills, more than anything else. While this short little A19 article certainly doesn’t rise to the level of Jack Abramoff paying op-ed writers to pen positive essays supporting his client’s positions it does give print space to a lobbyist selling his clients. This is surely something to complain about. And the Washington Post does get letters.Continue reading
I haven't heard it mentioned much lately, but the online face of the K Street Project -- the Republican effort to make sure Washington's influence industry hired Republicans going through the revolving door -- is still active. Much as I find the project to be distasteful (although truth be told, I never thought that Republican heavies preventing Democrats from landing plum lobbying jobs rose to the level of a national crisis), I hope the Web site sticks around after the November elections. Where else can you find a compendium of job listings quite like this one?Continue reading
USA Today, and its reporters Matt Kelley and Peter Eisler, have an astounding story out that today that really advances our knowledge of the extent of insiderism on Capitol Hill, and how Congress really has become a family business. And as you read the next few paragraphs, remember that they looked at two committees--JUST TWO COMMITTEES--the House and Senate Appropriations Committees--to get their totals. Think what we'll turn up when we've done the whole Congress!
Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars. Continue reading
Jonathan Allen, writing in The Hill, exposes some earmarks sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot for institutions with connections to some of his closest political supporters (read: donors and fundraisers). Reading the story, I couldn't help but think how much it was like our own Exposing Earmarks effort that focused on H.R. 5647, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill--find the earmarks, tie them to a member of Congress, and then look into who's benefiting. First, what makes Allen's story in The Hill so interesting is that it rather perfectly illustrates one of the main ways in which earmarks are abused:Continue reading
Over the weekend, Mike Dorning of the Chicago Tribune reported on the means that one Washington special interest, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, used to influence members of Congress, but noted one very interesting fact. First, the means:
For years, the National Marine Manufacturers Association asked one of its member manufacturers to lend the group's Washington lobbying office the use of a new yacht for the warm-weather months. The purpose was "to help our government relations staff develop relationships with key policy makers," the group's political action committee wrote in a report to members. Continue reading