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Tag Archive: Revolving Door

How much lobbying is there in Washington? It’s DOUBLE what you think



With the help of the lobbying industry, Washington’s regional economy seems to have weathered the economic storm of recent years.  Curiously, though, the seemingly simple question “How much lobbying is there in Washington?” is surprisingly hard to answer.  After Congress passed the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), which ostensibly required all “lobbyists” to report their activities on behalf of paying clients, the answer should be a no-brainer: just find the legally-mandated disclosure forms, and count them up.  The Center for Responsive Politics, with support from the Sunlight Foundation, has been doing this (well!) for years.

The problem is that just about everybody in the influence world knows that these numbers fall way short of reality.  You might even say “under-the-radar,” “stealth,” or “shadow” lobbying is a bit of an Open Secret in Washington.  What we don’t know is just how many shadow lobbyists there are.

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Mel Watt’s ties to the banking industry


(CORRECTION: This post has been updated to eliminate the name of the American Bankers' Association's Michael Hunter, incorrectly identified in earlier versions as an alumnus of Watt's office. Hunter worked for former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla.) 

Rep. Mel Watt, President Barack Obama's pick to lead the agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurers of most of the country's mortgages, is getting strong support from his party's liberal wing despite close ties to an industry with a big stake in how -- or if -- the controversial quasi-government entities are wound down.

The North Carolina ...

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What Jon Kyl won’t be lobbying on


Photo of former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.Jon Kyl, the number two Senate Republican leader before retiring in January, has quickly become an advisor to influence powerhouse Covington & Burlington, a firm that has spent nearly $100 million lobbying in the nation's capital, Sunlight's Influence Explorer shows. Kyl will be joining a bipartisan stable of heavy hitters that includes Stuart Eizenstat, a top official in the Carter and Clinton administrations, and Senate parliamentary wizard Marty Gold.

Technically, the powerful Arizonan will of course not be "lobbying." U.S. statute (relevant section here) prohibits former senators from lobbying their ex-colleagues for two years.

As Sunlight has documented ...

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Merger of American Airlines, US Airways creates lobbying titan


American Airlines vintage photo

American Airlines, which announced today that it has finalized terms of a merger with US Airways, was already the biggest spender on influence among air carriers. Adding US Airways will likely extend its reach.

While the two carriers' agreement to create the world's largest airline must win approval of federal regulators, they will have plenty of chits to draw on and an amazing array of former insiders to make to their case to Congress and the Obama administration of the wisdom of their plan. 

American, which declared bankruptcy in Nov. 2011 and announced thousands of layoffs three months later ...

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Inside spending: super PACs, dark money groups dominated by political insiders


By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and nonprofit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests.

-- from the majority opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

When the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the Citizen United case three years ago this week, the majority's expressed intent was to allow corporations--both for-profits like Exxon-Mobil and nonprofits like the Sierra Club--to add their voices to the public debate. In practice, an analysis by Sunlight finds, it has created ...

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Revolving door from CFTC to lobbying firm


A former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner has gone through the revolving door to the law and lobbying firm firm Patton Boggs, where he'll work as a senior policy advisor, the firm announced Tuesday.

"Regulatory agencies should be accessible to the businesses and industries they regulate," said Michael Dunn, the former commissioner, in a statement today. "I am excited to join the firm, and I look forward to helping clients navigate complex regulatory processes and agencies."

Appointed to the CFTC by former President George W. Bush, Dunn specialized in agricultural issues at the agency. His new employer is ...

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