Category Archives: lobbying

Political analysts serve whom exactly?

The Political analysts that appear on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and other news outlets will have you believe that they are all fair and balanced in their analysis of specific issues or incidents.
Nothing could be farther from the truth in most cases. Many times, these folks have another job as a Lobbyist, Consultant or sit on the Board of huge corporations. This is known as, per The Nation, The Media-Lobbying Complex. Fits don’t ya think? And this happens on both sides of the political aisle. From The Nation:

For lobbyists, PR firms and corporate officials, going on cable television is a chance to promote clients and their interests on the most widely cited source of news in the United States. These appearances also generate good will and access to major players inside the Democratic and Republican parties. For their part, the cable networks, eager to fill time and afraid of upsetting the political elite, have ofteBut n looked the other way. At times, the networks have even disregarded their own written ethics guidelines. Just about everyone involved is heavily invested in maintaining the current system, with the exception of the viewer.
While lobbyists and PR flacks have long tried to spin the press, the launch of Fox News and MSNBC in 1996 and the Clinton impeachment saga that followed helped create the caldron of twenty-four-hour political analysis that so many influence peddlers call home. Since then, guests with serious conflicts of interest have popped up with alarming regularity on every network. Just examine their presence in coverage of the economic crash and the healthcare reform debate, two recent issues that have engendered massive cable coverage.

I realize that not all lobbyists are carpetbagging fucks. Some actually have the best interests of the public in mind when they go on these shows. But the problem is…how do we know, if full disclosure isn’t made, when introducing the so-called analyst?

We don’t know. And therein lies the problem. An example would be Richard Wolffe, a left-leaning contributor on MSNBC. I like Wolffe and usually agree with his assessment on whatever issue he is contributing to at the moment. He is part of a public relations group, Public Strategies, that helps corporations fix their images when they go south. The problem lies in the fact that we are bombarded with these ‘contributors’ when there is a specific issue heating up. Again, from The Nation link:

Janine Wedel, an anthropologist in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and author of the new book Shadow Elite, told me in a recent interview that while these influence peddlers are not necessarily unethical, they “elude accountability to governments, shareholders and voters–and threaten democracy.”
“When there’s a whole host of pundits on the airwaves touting the same agenda at the same time, you get a cumulative effect that shapes public opinion toward their agenda,” she said.
Frequent television news commentators are also often given access to policy-makers, who may find that they are meeting with not just a TV pundit but also a paid lobbyist. This past March, for example, the White House held an exclusive “communications message meeting” for high-profile Democratic strategists with top presidential aide David Axelrod. Of the eighteen attendees, almost all television regulars, a third were lobbyists or public relations flacks, such as Kelly Bingel, a lobbyist for AHIP and a partner at mega-firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, and Rich Masters, a partner at PR/lobbying outfit Qorvis Communications, where he works on behalf of trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

It makes you wonder every time you see one of these fuckers on tv….who are they representing…we the people..or some fucking corporation. As Wedel explains, these assholes can shape public opinion…and that can be a dangerous thing when it’s done undercover by someone acting as a knowledgeable, unbiased expert.

Hunter Biden quits his day a lobbyist.

I blogged shortly after Biden got the VP nod that his son Hunter’s entire career was as a lobbyist.

I am happy to report that Hunter has shunned his day job. From the AP:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter has stopped working as a federal lobbyist, work that had made him a Republican target in the presidential contest.

“I no longer expect to act as a federal lobbyist,” Hunter Biden said in a letter to the Clerk of the House and the Senate Office of Public Records. The letter is dated Aug. 25 and was made public Friday.

It takes a big man to quit something as lucrative as lobbying. I give Hunter his due. What seems to have turned the tide for Hunter is the latest client they signed, coupled with his fathers new political move. From the WSJ:

In June, Biden agreed to work for a wealthy American who founded a large online gambling company from Gibraltar. According to the disclosure forms, Hunter Biden was charged with lobbying House lawmakers on behalf of a law firm that represents online gambling magnate Russ DeLeon. Listed as one of Forbes’ richest Americans, DeLeon was an original founder of the popular online gambling company

Republicans approved legislation in 2006 to outlaw Internet gaming, but Democrats are trying to overturn the ban. Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services panel, announced this morning that his committee will take up legislation to that end next week.

The stakes are high: The Internet gaming business is a multibillion-dollar industry; PartyGaming posted a $500 million profit in 2005. According to a form filled out by Hunter Biden just a month before the Democratic convention, Biden’s firm earned $50,000 for a few weeks work from PartyGaming before the second-quarter filing period came to an end June 30.

Hey, whatever it takes. I wish all lobbyists would have an attack of conscience.

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Hastert joins K Street Lobbying firm.

Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House has been hired by Dickstein Shapiro. Due to the new ethic’s rules, Denny can’t really lobby for a year. This lobbying/ legal firm has many former elected officials in the fold, from the LegalTimes:

Dickstein’s 20-member public policy and law practice is already home to a small caucus of ex-members, including: Sen. Wendell Ford (D-Ky.); Sen. Joseph Tydings (D-Md.); Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) (Hutchinson’s wife, Randi Fredholm Hutchinson, is also a counsel in the group); and Rep. Stanford Parris (R-Va.).

Among the group’s top-paying clients in 2007, according to public disclosures, were Lorillard Tobacco Co. ($1.68 million); Peabody Energy ($800,000); and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. ($460,000). This year, the client base has expanded to include Pew Charitable Trusts, which is monitoring mining legislation, and ARES Systems Group, which is lobbying on homeland security appropriations.

Denny will be making a..cough..modest $750k a year for his services, whatever the hell they are. If your wondering about how the Lobbyists are making it during these ‘hard times’..this article will show they are doing just fine:

The 50 highest-grossing lobbying practices in the country passed the $1 billion revenue mark for the first time last year, thanks in part to strong growth in work that’s outside the traditional boundaries of legislative lobbying.

Legal Times‘ annual Influence 50 survey (subscription required) shows that some of the biggest players in the lobbying world raked in multimillion-dollar increases in fees from public relations, legislative activity monitoring, and grass-roots advocacy. The survey, which covers annual income from lobbying work for 2007, also reveals that law firms are continuing to outpace nonlaw firms in revenue growth — and last year pulled in more than 64 percent of the revenue among Influence 50 firms.

Overall, revenue among the Influence 50 was up 11 percent. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ranks No. 1 on the list for the second consecutive year, with $89.8 million in lobbying income. Patton Boggs was a close runner-up, pulling down $89.3 million.

Below are the top ten firms that pulled in lobbying cash:

The Influence 50: Lobby shops and law firms with the highest revenues from lobbying work in 2007
Rank, Firm, 2007 Gross, 2006 Gross, Gain/Loss, Number of Lobbyists, Firm Type

1 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld $89,800,000 $76,900,000 +16.7% 40 Law
2 Patton Boggs $89,300,000 $71,000,000 +25.8% 149 Law
3 Hogan & Hartson $71,400,000 $65,700,000 +8.7% 32 Law
4 DLA Piper $47,300,000 $46,200,000 +2% 38 Law
5 Holland & Knight $45,100,000 $34,700,000 +30% 56 Law
6 K&L Gates $42,300,000 $37,300,000 +13.4% 51 Law
7 Covington & Burling $40,400,000 $33,100,000 +22% 30 Law
8 Dutko Worldwide $35,100,000 $33,400,000 +5.1% 60 Non-Law
9 Greenberg Traurig $32,900,000 $29,200,000 +12.7% 74 Law
10 BGR Holding $30,200,000 $28,800,000 +5% 17 Non-Law

McCain’s main man has ties to the Russian Mob?

Sweet Jesus..this looks like a bit of bad juju for Rick Davis and Johnny McCain. Hug and a h/t to Nicole over at Crooks and Liars for this:

Rick Davis’ lobbyists ties certainly extend far beyond the telecom industry. ABC News

John McCain’s presidential campaign is blasting a New York Times report suggesting that the candidate may have known since 2005 that his campaign manager’s firm worked for a Kremlin-backed politician

The McCain campaign is strongly denying the paper’s reporting that in 2005, a White House National Security Council staffer called John McCain’s Senate office to complain that Rick Davis’ lobbying firm was “undercutting American policy on Ukraine” by representing a Kremlin-backed politician

Salon has a tasty writeup as well. Oh Johnny this ain’t good just ain’t..and it warms the cockles of my lil black heart you batshit crazy sumbitch. 

Graphic filched from the wonderful DCup. 😉 I will use it every chance I on it!

NAM gets pissed the courts don’t go along like BushCo does..

Those lobbying fools known as NAM are highly peeved about this development. From the writeup:

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is appealing a federal court order to dismiss the group’s lawsuit challenging a new ethics and lobbying law.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled Friday against the trade association’s suit, which took issue with a specific provision of the new law that would require “stealth coalitions” to disclose their member companies if they contributed at least $5,000 per quarter to the coalition or actively participated in a lobbying campaign.

Obviously the manufacturing lobby doesn’t like playing by the ‘new rules’. We can only hope to Buddha that judges uphold this new law..all the way up the chain. But frankly, I don’t feel good about our chances if they take it all the way to the Supreme’s. Those bastids are handpicked for the love of pete.

Crossposted at Bring it On!