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The K Street Project

Politics-American K-Street Project Tom DeLay Grover Norquist

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#1 Spectacles

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 02:26 PM

Since Tom DeLay has been in the news the past couple of days, I kept seeing references to his role as a prime mover in the K Street Project. I didn't know much about this, so I did some research.

Everyone ought to read this:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18075

It's long, but it's intriguing--kinda like The Godfather.

Essentially, ten years ago, DeLay and Grover Norquist and others started the K Street Project:

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For over ten years, but particularly since George W. Bush took office, powerful Republicans, among them Tom DeLay and Senator Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, have been carrying out what they call the "K Street Project," an effort to place more Republicans and get rid of Democrats in the trade associations and major national lobbying organizations that have offices on K Street in downtown Washington (although, of course, some have offices elsewhere).

Sound benign? Read the article.

Several of us have lamented the fact that Washington seems to be even more "for sale" than usual and the revolving door between Congress and lobbyists seems to be spinning even faster. The article does a good job of explaining why this is.

Edited by Spectacles, 29 September 2005 - 02:27 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#2 Nonny

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 02:37 PM

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The effects of the new, higher level of corruption on the way the country is governed are profound. Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed. The head of a public policy strategy group told me, "It's not about governing anymore. The Congress is now a transactional institution. They don't take risks. So when a great moral issue comes up— like war—they can't deal with it."
This explains a lot.  :(  

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#3 sierraleone

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 03:13 PM

This is awefull
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#4 Anarch

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 10:37 PM

I mucked around with various inflation adjustment calculators over the summer.  Turns out that for basic adjustments, the combined corruption of the current GOP leadership (including various estimates on the scale of K Street's shenanigans) makes this the most corrupt era of government since the Gilded Age.

And frankly?  This may be the most corrupt (American) government of all time.  Which, given our time-honored traditions, is saying something.

#5 Spectacles

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 06:39 AM

Yep. This is the New Gilded Age.

What's amazing to me, though, is how skillfully the whole thing has been spun so that at least a slim voting majority of working- and middle-class Americans think that they're voting for their own interests while they're in fact cutting their own throats. Tax cuts for the upper 2%? Why, we all benefit. There's this almost childlike faith that the rich and powerful are competent leaders. It reminds me of what happens in the inner city. The most respected people are often the high-level drug dealers. They'll pay for uniforms for sports teams, do some good for the community, buy themselves some goodwill, drive their expensive cars and wear their expensive clothes and evoke a lot of admiration just for having material things, and meanwhile they're killing the community by keeping it supplied with drugs.

Back to this issue, we need desperately a reform movement in this country. A bipartisan one.

First, though, we need to shine bright lights on the cockroaches and get the word out that our representatives in Washington are for sale like never before.

Edited by Spectacles, 30 September 2005 - 06:40 AM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#6 eloisel

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 07:37 AM

Interesting.

Source Watch - K Project

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Historically, K Street hires top ex-politicians from both major parties since party in power can vary between elections and among the legislative and executive branches in government.

During most of the George W. Bush administration, the Republican party had majority control of both houses of Congress, in addition to control of the White House. Thomas D. DeLay of the House, Rick Santorum of the Senate, and Grover Norquist took this opportunity to expand the K Street Project by pressuring major lobbying firms to hire only Republicans in any new or open positions.

But in June 2004, the Washington Post reported that the power of the K Street Project might be waning. "According to a review of job listings in Influence.biz, a lobbying newsletter, more than 40 percent of lobbyists with identifiable party backgrounds hired in the past six months have been Democrats. During the same period a year earlier, Democrats constituted only 30 percent of those hired."

With "Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) running neck and neck with President Bush in most polls and with the outlook for the Senate a tossup, a wide range of interest groups are filling some of their lobbying and public relations openings with Democrats -- just in case the center of influence switches. 'There is some bet-hedging going on that wasn't going on a year and a half ago,' said Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. of Patton Boggs LLP, one of Washington's largest lobbying-law firms."

In September 2004, The Hill reported the opposite K Street hiring trend: "Retiring House Democrats are feeling a cold draft from K Street as they seek post-congressional employment at lobbying firms, trade groups and corporations. By contrast, K Street is aggressively courting GOP lawmakers who have announced their retirements, suggesting that the business community is confident the GOP will retain the Speaker's gavel in January and that business wants to fortify its Republican Rolodexes."

Not everyone agreed with the conclusion that "the 'K Street Project' is alive and well"; "Democrats argue that the crop of retiring lawmakers seeking employment is not broad enough to discern a pattern or divine the intentions of K Street." Retiring Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, who was interviewing with 15 firms, said K Street's current GOP bias is needed to balance a long period of Democratic bias, when the Dems enjoyed House majority party status for 40 years. "K Street is still only 30 percent Republican, so there's a lot more work to do to make it even," said Dunn.


K Street Project website
Seems the Democrats are still being hired to lobby.

All this sounds like grist for an HBO series or movie of the week.  Maybe George Clooney could star in it.

#7 Spectacles

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 08:57 AM

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Eloisel: Seems the Democrats are still being hired to lobby.

Yep. There's always some bet-hedging on K Street. And as assorted scandals hit the GOP, there may be more Dems hired before the midterm elections if the lobbying firms think that there's a chance that the Democrats can take back one of the houses of Congress.

But, that's K Street. The K Street Project, nevertheless, is a ten-year-old Republican plan to put the GOP in charge not only of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches but also the "fourth branch" of powerful lobbyists. And it probably helps to explain why lobbying has grown even more influential in DC in the past five years.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#8 Spectacles

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 09:02 AM

This looks like a good site on lobbying:

http://www.publicintegrity.org/lobby/

I'm gonna park it here because I just found it while looking at the info Eloisel posted. (Thanks, Eloisel. :) ) And I don't have time to read it closely right now.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#9 eloisel

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 03:33 PM

True, your article is on the Project, however, the lament is on how Washington is for sale.  Even after 9 years of the Nefarious Plan of the GOP to make K Street the 4th branch of government, only 30% was Republican.  Who is selling Washington?  Overwhelmingly, Democrats for 40 years.

#10 Spectacles

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 04:00 PM

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Eloisel: Who is selling Washington? Overwhelmingly, Democrats for 40 years.

I'm not sure I'm content to trust the word of a Republican congresswoman-turned-lobbyist on that, so I'm gonna do some digging. I actually give the Republicans more credit than that. If their campaign has been to make most lobbyists Republican for ten years, I'd think they would have had more success than a mere 30%, especially given the cozy relationship between Big Business and the GOP.

But let's say she's right. This kind of corruption is wrong, regardless of the party engaged in it and benefitting from it, wouldn't you say? That's what I was trying to get at earlier when I said we need a genuine, bipartisan reform movement in this country.

If the Democrats do take back the Senate or the House (very doubtful, thanks to redistricting, by the way), then K Street will merely flip allegiance. The industries that lobby want legislation that favors them, regardless of party. Whichever party is power is suddenly going to be the best friend of K Street. This has to stop.

PS--From the article linked in the first post of this thread:

Quote

According to a report in The Washington Post in 2003, an official of the Republican National Committee told a group of Republican lobbyists that thirty-three of the top thirty-six top-level K Street positions had gone to Republicans.

Edited by Spectacles, 30 September 2005 - 04:03 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#11 eloisel

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 04:32 PM

I'm sorry - can't help it - these K Street people must have gone to the John Kerry School of Flip-Flopping!

Agreed on lobbying.  I thought I've been hearing over the years that the differing administrations are/were trying to do away with or at the very least cut down on lobbying.  Doesn't sound like it though.

I know my city uses a lobbyist to represent us in the state legislature.  We aren't trying to sell a product but we do have interests in the laws that are under discussion.

One of the things I found interesting about Mayor Nagin - constantly referred to as a Democrat.  From my experience with our local politics, grass roots types may have a party affiliation but it doesn't serve them.  Mayors are directly accessible to their City and City Council members have constitutents within their districts that come in a variety of flavors.  That is the majority those elected officials have to keep happy or they are out the door.  When the City lobbyies their state gov't what they have in mind are the problems of their city - i.e. laws affecting economic development, sexually oriented businesses, gun laws, etc.

One of the things that caught my eye on the K Street Project site was that Democrats were hired for the Jim Beam lobbyiest.  Interesting.

#12 Anarch

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 12:41 AM

eloisel:  A potpourri of responses...

First, the claim that K Street is 30% Republican is flat-out wrong in any meaningful sense.  [There's probably some hypertechnical sense in which it's true, e.g. most of the Republican lobbyists actually live on L or something stupid like that, but for all intents and purposes it's false.]  Any of the extant links will demonstrate this, and I can dig around to see if I can locate some numbers if there's interest.

Re Nagin: He was originally a Republican but turned Democrat something like a week or a month before his election.  He's a strong Bush supporter to the point of raising money for him in the 2004 election.  I'm not sure what to make of it and, frankly, not convinced it makes a whole lot of difference (but it sure is interesting in a pointless kind of way).

Democrats hired for Jim Beam is interesting why?  The Seagram corporation is one of the largest donors to the GOP, has been for years, and their lobbyists are AFAIK exclusively Republican.

And finally, though this doubtless won't endear me to you, Kerry is the mere Padawan-learner of Flip-Flopping compared to the Grandmaster Jedi of the Art: George W Bush.  What's bizarre isn't that the GOP launched that attack on Kerry when Bush was so much a greater exemplar of the cause -- the "projection offense" is a standard part of Rove's playbook -- but that people seemed to swallow it hook, line and sinker despite the myriads of blatant flip-flops and contradictions issued by the president.  Ah well, 2004 is of the past; needs we must look to the future.

#13 eloisel

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:55 AM

Anarch, on Oct 2 2005, 05:41 AM, said:

eloisel:  A potpourri of responses...

First, the claim that K Street is 30% Republican is flat-out wrong in any meaningful sense.  [There's probably some hypertechnical sense in which it's true, e.g. most of the Republican lobbyists actually live on L or something stupid like that, but for all intents and purposes it's false.]  Any of the extant links will demonstrate this, and I can dig around to see if I can locate some numbers if there's interest.
Sure, I'm interested.

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Re Nagin: He was originally a Republican but turned Democrat something like a week or a month before his election.  He's a strong Bush supporter to the point of raising money for him in the 2004 election.  I'm not sure what to make of it and, frankly, not convinced it makes a whole lot of difference (but it sure is interesting in a pointless kind of way).
It is interesting as many of the claims that the administration wasn't there to take care of NO quickly enough was because of party affiliation.

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Democrats hired for Jim Beam is interesting why?  The Seagram corporation is one of the largest donors to the GOP, has been for years, and their lobbyists are AFAIK exclusively Republican.
Interesting because the Democrat party line is so anti-corporate.  Or is it only anti-corporate toward the corporations that don't put money in their pockets?

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And finally, though this doubtless won't endear me to you, Kerry is the mere Padawan-learner of Flip-Flopping compared to the Grandmaster Jedi of the Art: George W Bush.  What's bizarre isn't that the GOP launched that attack on Kerry when Bush was so much a greater exemplar of the cause -- the "projection offense" is a standard part of Rove's playbook -- but that people seemed to swallow it hook, line and sinker despite the myriads of blatant flip-flops and contradictions issued by the president.  Ah well, 2004 is of the past; needs we must look to the future.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Would be interested to know what you think President Bush has flip-flopped on.  Have to disagree that Kerry as a flip-flopper is purely projection - he is and blatantly so.  However, agreed, needs be we must look to the future.

#14 waterpanther

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 09:41 AM

That's the Democratic Party, eloisel.  You've made quite a to-do of people nicknaming George Bush in ways you don't like,and it's largely stopped.  How's about some reciprocation?

Edited by waterpanther, 02 October 2005 - 09:42 AM.

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#15 eloisel

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 09:58 AM

waterpanther, on Oct 2 2005, 02:41 PM, said:

That's the Democratic Party, eloisel.  You've made quite a to-do of people nicknaming George Bush in ways you don't like,and it's largely stopped.  How's about some reciprocation?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Okay.  Then maybe I've misunderstood.  Isn't the Democratic Party anti-corporate?  And, how is that a slam?

#16 Spectacles

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 12:49 PM

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Eloisel: Interesting because the Democrat party line is so anti-corporate.


In what way?

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Or is it only anti-corporate toward the corporations that don't put money in their pockets?

Well, I think it's safe to say that all incumbents, Democratic and Republican, are beholden to corporate lobbyists. Very few in either party are principled enough not to peddle their influence. And that's a huge problem.

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Would be interested to know what you think President Bush has flip-flopped on.

Being opposed to nation-building and entering a war without an exit strategy are the first things that leap to mind. Had he meant what he said in the 2000 campaign, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in in Iraq.

Being firmly opposed to negotiating with North Korea and deriding the deal struck in the mid-90's and then agreeing to essentially the same deal is another flip-flop. But that's all fallen through anyway because North Korea did its usual weirdness and balked after the latest accord was reached.

On social issues, he's waffled a bit on gay rights. On the one hand he's opposed to turning gays into scapegoats and on the other he supports a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage--but he's not going to push for it, but he is. It all depends on which way the moment's political winds blow. He is, after all, a politician.

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Have to disagree that Kerry as a flip-flopper is purely projection - he is and blatantly so
.

Well, he did get a bum rap on the 87 billion dollars. He voted for the version of the appropriation that included a provision that it be paid for with a tax increase or spending cut. When that failed, he voted against the version that had no such provision, which passed. Of course it was a damned stupid thing to phrase it as he did. But it wasn't a flip-flop.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#17 Anarch

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:07 PM

eloisel, on Oct 2 2005, 06:55 AM, said:

Sure, I'm interested.

I'll look around but it suddenly occurred to me that what the author of that post might have meant: some of K Street is, I think, politically unaffiliated.  It's possible that Republicans control vast swathes of the politically aligned portions of K Street but relatively little of K Street as a whole.

Incidentally, check out the burgeoning Abramoff scandal.  Not only has he been indicted for millions of dollars of corruption -- which is particularly fun because this indictment has now spread to investigations of ten, I think, top GOP politicians -- he's just (i.e. three days ago) been connected to a gangland slaying of a Florida businessman.  And Abramoff is hooked deep into the GOP money machine...

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Interesting because the Democrat party line is so anti-corporate.  Or is it only anti-corporate toward the corporations that don't put money in their pockets?

First, as waterpanther said, it's the Democratic party.  I don't know if you're aware of the history of the term "Democrat" party, but let's just say that IMO there's enough bad blood there to automatically contaminate anyone who uses it.

Second, the Democratic party line isn't anti-corporate.  Check any of the releases from the DNC, the DLC or any other major Democratic party organs; they're all avowedly pro-business, and they have been for at least 10 years  [Arguably, even longer still.]  They're not as ridiculously pro-corporate as the Republicans -- and they're certainly not pro-corporate-to-the-expense-of-everyone-else as some of the more extreme GOP members -- but there are certainly prominent pro-corporate elected Democrats (Biden and Lieberman leap to mind, although I'm sure there are others).

[And if you want to see truly craven capitulation to corporate interests, check the vote on the recent bankruptcy bill.  A true legislative abomination if I've ever seen one.]

Third, there is a major movement within the liberal/progressive milieu to limit the power and effectiveness of large corporations but that movement has yet to reach the leadership of the Democratic party and probably never will.  Given the staggering corruption of the Republican party right now -- to repeat Spectacles' remarks, this is the new Gilded Age -- it's conceivable the Democrats might make a tactical decision to renounce all special interest/corporate funding, thereby setting themselves up as the party of righteousness.  [And I think they'd be right to do it, too.]  Given the cowardice of the DNC/DLC crew, however, I'm not holding my breath.

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Would be interested to know what you think President Bush has flip-flopped on.  Have to disagree that Kerry as a flip-flopper is purely projection - he is and blatantly so.  However, agreed, needs be we must look to the future.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


First, the "projection offense" (my term, btw, I don't know that there is a standard one) is to tar your opponent with your failings, irrespective of whether they suffer from them are not, so that any attack they make on you comes across as "Yeah?  Well, you're a..."  It's a viciously, viciously effective tactic, generally because people are ill-informed and the media's too frickin' stupid -- or cowardly, or cozy, or inured in the cult of faux-objectivity -- to inform them.

Second, rather than try to expostulate myself, 'cause there are too damn many to count, I'll link to Dwight Meredith over at Wampum:

Second Installment (8 flip-flops)

Third Installment (3 flip-flops)

Fourth Installment (3 flip-flops)

Fifth Installment (6 flip-flops)

Sixth Installment (4 flip-flops)

I can vouch for almost all of those as being accurately reported, as well as there being plenty more to document had RL not impinged on Dwight's annotations.  If you're really tendentious, you can check out Compassiongate's comprehensive (perhaps too comprehensive) list of 172 flip-flops, but I make no such vouching.

ETA:  Thanks to Spectacles for the 87 billion catch; forgot to include it in my response.

Edited by Anarch, 02 October 2005 - 01:08 PM.


#18 Delvo

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:18 PM

Anarch, on Oct 2 2005, 01:07 PM, said:

Given the staggering corruption of the Republican party right now...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Excuse me, but that's "Republicanic". :sarcasm: So now you're "contaminated".

#19 Anarch

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:23 PM

Got a point there, Delvo?

#20 Delvo

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:24 PM

On the subject of Democrats being "anti-corporate" or not. Maybe a case can be made that they're not based on the bills they submits and the votes they cast, but mostly what people see and hear of them is the speeches they make and teh comments they give in interviews. And when you're talking about a group of people that are so dedicated to slipping in something about how evil and ruinous to us all Bigbizness is almost every single time they open their mouths (whether their votes reflect it or not), how could anyone possibly escape the conclusion that either they're lividly anti-capitalist or they at least want to be seen as such? It dominates their minds and speech so much they seem to wear it proudly as a badge of honor, so why look for ways out of it instead of going along with the choice they've obviously made for themselves?



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