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K Street’s Super Committee Splurge

Written on Sunday, November 13, 2011 by

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super committee

The bipartisan debt panel to nowhere is exactly where K Street lobbyists want it to be: hopelessly deadlocked. A November 23 deadline for agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget savings is looming, but no real reductions in the size, scope or spending of government are on the table. Instead, we are witnessing another obscene special-interest splurge to preserve the status quo. All in the name of “reform,” of course.

The only thing “super” about the so-called budget control super committee is the size of lobbying muscle exerted on its members. Almost 100 registered lobbyists who are former employees of super committee members are now “representing defense companies, health-care conglomerates, Wall Street banks and others with a vested interest in the outcome of the panel’s work,” the Washington Post found in September. This includes two dozen former staffers to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, including three former chiefs of staff.

On the other side of the revolving door, 10 out of the panel’s 12 members have now raked in donations from foreign registered agents totaling more than $50,000 in direct campaign contributions during 2011 alone, according to government watchdogs. The additional amount raised through fundraisers held by these lobbying firms is unknown, according to the Project on Government Oversight. Moreover, all 12 super committee members have been contacted by foreign lobbyists, eager to secure targeted exemptions, loopholes and protectionism.

Super committee co-chair Patty Murray, who refused to step down from her fundraising duties as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, recently met with South Korean lobbyists employed by D.C. powerhouse firm Patton Boggs. Roll Call reported that while the panel’s negotiations wouldn’t have direct bearing on free-trade deals, Murray “could have access to information about how the timing of the debt deliberations could affect passage of the free-trade agreements.”

Patty “Pork Chop” Murray’s in-your-face embrace of influence peddlers has her populist Pacific Northwest constituents cringing. Mind you: Murray’s office boasts no fewer than 17 revolving-door staffers turned lobbyists. That’s on top of her DSCC fundraising conflicts of interest.

This week, the Seattle Times disclosed that Murray held a two-day staff retreat at heavyweight lobbying outfit Strategies 360, which was founded by Democratic political operative Ron Dotzauer. The group donated meeting space to Murray’s team and skirted ethics rules by offering similar deals to nonprofits. Murray’s former deputy state director, Karen Waters, is now a senior vice president at the firm. Another of its lobbyists, Melanie Mihara, used to work for Murray’s Democratic colleague Sen. Maria Cantwell. According to OpenSecrets.org, Strategies 360 has conducted $985,000 worth of lobbying targeting more than a dozen government agencies this year.

A spokesman for the senator (who made her name attacking the Beltway insider culture) sniffed that the report was a “non-story.” Given Murray’s status as the second highest recipient of lobbying money among all members of Congress behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, her staff is right:

This little perk is chump change compared to her career haul.

Lobbying, of course, is perfectly legal. It’s Murray’s pretense as a white hat public-interest crusader that should gall both sides of the aisle. One left-wing Seattle blogger rather generously called Murray “tone-deaf” and spelled out the rank hypocrisy of Murray’s entrenched and unrepentant lobbying ties: “This while members of her own party are up in arms over the increasing influence of money in American politics. This while a giant hunk of the liberal electorate is “Occupying” the streets to protest corporate greed and disproportional representation. This while the very term “lobbyist” has come to represent all that is bad about special interest influence.”

Yep, all that and a bag of back-scratching chips.

Murray’s backroom meetings come as business as usual as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi grandstands over the need for more “transparency” in the super committee dealings. After ramming through Obamacare in secret (with the help of top staffer Brendan Daly, who is now a lobbyist for groups opposed to the law he helped pass), Pelosi has now called for televised debt panel hearings. On publicly broadcasting the debt panel members’ meetings with lobbyists, Pelosi will no doubt remain mum. Remember:

The “K” in “K Street” stands for “Kabuki.”

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM

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  • http://www.americagonestupid.com nvrpc

    The only way this is going to ever be resolved is. A flat 10% fixed tax for ALL (locked in and never able to be increased ), abolishment of the IRS and move to a cashless society where ALL tranactions of ANY KIND are known and can not be done without using postive ID and your card. Unfortunately it will require immigrabtion control which means deportaion round-up and siezures of all assets, closing of all points of entry into the US for the next 25 years, and fines to employers who hire illegals of $100K per day per employee.

    • Another Veteran

      They’re not going to eliminate the IRS, there has to be some agency to collect and disburse taxes money.

  • http://www.americagonestupid.com nvrpc

    Moderated again. Oh well click on my name, go to page 2 and then click on The ~8 -2 -0 ~Plan

  • http://espionageaction-actionadventure.blogspot.com stephen russell

    Is it Dems or both being lobbied??
    By which lobbists & groups.
    Money=deadlock, great.

  • Lacy J

    Wake up…Americans! What no replies? It is 2 p.m. here.

    • Jonathan Gartner

      This whole idea was not to actually do anything except delay. In that delay they(liberals) hoped that people would forget all about it. The military leaving Iraq and Afghanistan have the money (it is spread out) now the liberals are left hanging with getting rid of entitlements(not social security or medicare for seniors) food stamps, welfare and green energy cut spending no more taxes for anyone.

  • Bill

    Bulldoze K-Street, it’s lobbyists and the “Citizens United” into the ground, then arrest, investigate and jail ALL lobbyists, congressmen (house, senate), and administration people who have taken money (or insider stock tips) from these bast__ds. We already pay gov’t people to work for us!!

    Conservative Republican Viet Nam Vet

  • am2sweet

    I think we need rid of ALL lobbyists. All they do is beg for money and why should they be paid for doing that when there are people on street corners that know how to do the same thing and no one has to pay them. IF a state needs something then go through the governor and let him go into congress about it. Most lobbyists are working for special interest groups which shouldn’t have any say in how the government spends their money anyway. They are the ones that have managed to get us in debt by having government officials give in to their demands.

    • Douglas Holbert

      That is what did happen when the several state elected their Senators. Just wait until we elect the president by popular vote. We will no longer be free. Our Constitutional Republic will be over. Class Envy will be the name of the next Political Party.

  • Douglas Holbert

    The fix has always been in. To completely change this country as we know it with out a shot being fired or a law being passed. What a waste: Senate and House when the Justice Department can overrule and not be challenged. No bid contracts. Bailouts. No oversight. Backdoor deals. What until they being out the new constitution.

  • Larry

    Not one of the people we have chosen elected to do the peoples business are the same ones that pass the laws and bills that allow them to get the big money from all of the Lobbyist’s. When any of these bills and laws are in the process of being voted on should be made public and the people should be the ones to pass or reject these bills and laws that will benefit financially those we have elected to do our business and the people we elect to help us should not be allowed to take money from anyone while they are doing the business of the people that chose them to help us.

  • Randy131

    HYPOCRACY, the American public can’t even spell it, let alone know what it means, especially when one like Patty Murray shows us prime examples of what it is and how it hurts the American political process. Talk about being two-faced, she makes an art form of it.

  • Lonnie Albertson

    We didn’t elect congresspersons. We elected criminals. ALL lobbyists need to be eliminated and any congressperson should be banned from inside information or ANY lobbyist or foreign contributions. This is a government bought and paid for by those with the intent and purpose of destroying the republic.

  • Dean

    SUPER COMMITTEE! What a joke. I knew from the start they wouldn’t get anything done. Now the rest of the congress does not have take blame for the failure do get the deficit cuts done. They abdicated their responsibility to 12 suckers. And Obama will spin himself right out of this mess too. Clever B–T–D.

  • Thomas Holzman

    When are people going to wake up? You have to vote everyone out of office when their term is up. No ifs, ans, or buts.

  • http://adrianvance.blogspot.com Adrian Vance

    “K” Street is legalized corruption for the elected ruling class. It is just that simple.

    See The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com has political analysis, science and humor. Now in the top 2% on Kindle.

  • Pat Sinclair

    GET RID OF ALL FOREIGN AID AND WE WILL BE SAVING A LOT OF MONEY. THAT WOULD BRING THE DEBT DOWN ALOT. THE DEMOCRATES ARE NOT EVEN TRYING TO CUT SPENDING OR BRING THE DEBT DOWN. WE NEED TO GET RID OF ALL THE DEMOCRATES IN OFFICE SINCE THEY BELIEVE IN SOCIALSIM AND COMMUNISM. THEY ARE A REAL DISAPPOINTMENT.

  • http://adrianvance.blogspot.com Adrian Vance

    All of this nonsense should be classified as bribes, because it is, and these guys should go to jail. This is the kind of corruption that eventually causes inssurections.

    See The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com has political analysis, science and humor. Now in the top 2% on Kindle.

  • Another Veteran

    It may be perfectly legal to utilize lobbyists but is should be made illegal. Problem is that congress has to vote on it to make it illegal. ya think they’ll vote on a law that will adversely impact them?