Every year lawmakers go up to Alaska to go fishing at "a five star resort"; and every year lobbyists from the oil and gas industry follow those lawmakers to these fish-filled waters to hook them on their own line. American Radio Works went behind the scenes of this annual ritual in the circle of Washington political life and found a number of Senators, energy industry lobbyists, and our friend [sw: Dennis Hastert] (R-Ill.) getting together to break congressional ethics rules.
The event is organized under the aegis of a charity, the Waterfall Committee, supported by former Sen. and current Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski and his wife Nancy. In 1996 "the House and Senate banned lawmakers from accepting free trips to recreational charity events like this one". The Senate Ethics Committee went so far as to write Murkowski a letter to "expressly forbid senators from accepting free travel or lodging to attend this event." It appears that numerous members of Congress may have violated this rule by attending.
The Hill gives a run-down of the top "sharpshooters" and corporate lobbyists in Washington. An important list to know the behind the scenes power players. Here are the listed lobbyists who used to be elected members of Congress:
- Dick Armey, Piper Rudnick Gray Cary
- John Ashcroft, The Ashcroft Group
- Al D’Amato, Park Strategies
- Bob Dole, Alston & Bird
- Tom Downey, Downey McGrath
- Slade Gorton, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds
- Bob Livingston, The Livingston Group
- Bill Paxon, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
- J.C. Watts, The J.C. Watts Cos.
- Vin Weber, Clark and Weinstock Weber
So you want your gas prices to go down? You're going to need a lot of money to counter the oil companies lobbying heft. Political Money Line shows us how much the oil companies spent in lobbying expenses last year:
The final total for the entire industry reaches $33,173,092.