Campaign 2010

Dec 13, 2010

House Republicans Leave No Lobbyist Behind: Agenda to Be Set By Lobbyists

It’s now clear that House Republicans have launched an ambitious new effort, “Leave No Lobbyist Behind,” where they hire special interest lobbyists to key positions that will develop the Republican agenda. Republicans have hired a lobbyist with “deep ties to K street” to run their Energy and Commerce policy, an earmark aficionado to partner with the Prince of Pork Hal Rogers on the Appropriations Committee and even an industry lobbyist to lead policy for the new Speaker-elect. Following their leaders’ example, newly elected Republicans have gone to K Street to find their lobbyist/chief of staff, including Representatives-elect Raul Labrador of Idaho, Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, Steve Pearce of New Mexico, Jeff Denham of California and Robert Dold of Illinois.

“It’s clear Republicans have told Washington special interests that they’re ‘open for business’ as they leave no lobbyist behind while hiring congressional staff,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The major policy decisions Republicans make will be led by the same-old Washington special interest lobbyists watching out for CEOs and corporations, not what’s best for America’s families. Republicans ran on an agenda of changing Washington and now they’re putting the same establishment lobbyists and the special interest back in charge.”

House Republican Caucus: Leave No Lobbyist Behind

Energy and Commerce Staff Director has “deep ties to K Street.” “Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has picked a prominent conservative columnist, industry lobbyist and former White House aide to serve as staff director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to sources on and off Capitol Hill.  […] Andres is currently vice chairman of research at the Washington lobbying shop of Dutko Worldwide. [...] He also has deep ties to K Street. As a Dutko lobbyist, Andres is listed on public disclosure forms representing a range of companies and industry groups, including Federal Express, Union Pacific, the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform and the National Groundwater Association.” [POLITICO, Lobbyist Offer Key House Staff Post, 12/10/10]

Boehner Chooses Lobbyist to Be Policy Director.  “House Speaker-elect John Boehner announced Thursday that he hired the medical device industry’s chief lobbyist as his policy director, adding to a growing number of Republican lawmakers who have recruited top aides from K Street. Brett Loper, the senior executive vice president at the Advanced Medical Technology Association, was deeply involved in the health care debate and fought against the fees Democrats ultimately assessed the industry to help pay for reform.” [POLITICO, Boehner Adds Lobbyist to Staff, 12/9/10]

Prince of Pork Hal Rogers Wants Earmark Lobbyist to Write Appropriations Bills. “Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) ... is considering bringing on a top Lockheed Martin executive and lobbyist as staff director of the committee. Bill Inglee is a vice president at Lockheed Martin who lobbied the Appropriations panel from 2005 to 2009.  According to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Office of the Clerk, Inglee was registered to lobby on several appropriations bills from 2005 to 2009, including budgets for the State, Commerce and Defense departments and for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.” [POLITICO, Rogers eyes lobbyist as staff chief, 12/3/10]

Dold Hires U.S. Chamber of Commerce in China lobbyist as Chief-of-Staff. According to The Hill newspaper, Representative-elect Bob Dold has hired a special interest lobbyist, Eric Burgeson, to run his Congressional office.  Burgeson’s clients include the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce in China.”  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $100,000 to help Bob Dodd get elected.  [The Hill, GOP freshman class draws K Street talent, 12/8/10]

Labrador, Bass, Pearce and Denham all Hire Lobbyists as Chief of Staff. John Goodwin of the National Rifle Association will be chief of staff to Rep.-elect Raul Labrador (R-Idaho.); John Billings with the Food Marketing Institute will be chief of staff to Rep.-elect Charlie Bass (R-N.H.); Todd Willens, who has lobbied at Vitello Consulting, will be chief of staff to Rep.-elect Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).; Jason Larrabee, founder of Jason Larrabee Ventures, will be chief of staff to Rep.-elect Jeff Denham (R-Calif); Rep.-elect Robert Dold (R) of Illinois has hired Eric Burgeson, a vice president at BGR Group, to be his chief of staff. BGR. [The Hill, GOP freshman class draws K Street talent, 12/8/10]

Background

Government watchdog and accountability groups have begun to sound the alarm. Last week, the Washington Post reported that “Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the Public Citizen watchdog group, said hiring senior aides from K Street gives their former corporate clients an unfair advantage. ‘Lobbyists for the most part are hired guns that represent corporations and other special interests that pay for them,’ Holman said. ‘Those lobbyists now have direct access to the political agenda of these lawmakers.’” [Washington Post, 12/9/10]

Lobbyists Wrote GOP's Pledge To America.” An MSBNC report during the campaign, among others, confirmed that the agenda House Republicans wrote for the 2010 campaign – called their “Pledge to America” – was authored industry lobbyists. [MSNBC, 9/23/10]