"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Santorum and DeLay's K Street Project

When Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, Senator Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay initiated their K Street Project. The object was to force businesses to fire Democrat lobbyists and hire Republicans in their place, making K Street a Republican preserve. Republican members of Congress were asked to refuse to speak to Democrat lobbyists. An added incentive to hiring Republican lobbyists was that House committees were taking to allowing lobbyists to sit with them in drafting legislation. Indeed, it is likely that lobbyists often had more influence over legislation than Democratic Congressmen, who have had increasing problems getting legsilation to the floor. Indeed, they are frequently excluded from committee sessions.

When Republicans gained control of the White House, there was even more reason for businesses to comply with the K Street Strategy. Many in the executive branch will not speak to Democrat lobbyists. Elizabeth Drew has written recently in the New York Review of Books that the new alliance of Republicans and lobbyists has led to an unprecedented level of corruption in Washington. David Brooks, a Republican columnist, recently said on a PBS program, that the greatest threat to continuing Republican domination is the potential for corrupti0n built into this alliance.

In 2003, Congressman Michael Oxley's staff tolds the Investment Company Institute that his investigations of mutual funds would ease up if its top Democratic lobbyists were replaced with Republicans. The organization complied, and the investigation seemed to ramp down.

In 2004, the Motion Picture Association of America made a huge mistake in hiring Dan Glickman, a former Clinton cabinet member, as its chief lobbyist. Grover Norquist, a leading Republican operative, said this action was a studied insult. He added that he would not be satisfied until all the secretaries on K Street were Republicans. Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, has played a key role in helping DeLay and Santorum in identifying firms that have been tardy in firing Democrats and hiring Republicans. The House of Representatives retaliated by scrubbing a $ 1.5 billion tax break for the motion picture industry. Roll Call reported that "Santorum has begun discussing what the consequences are for the movie industry." The matter was resolved by Glickman keeping his job but MPAA hiring a bevy of Republicans, including the former PR person for Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Until 1995, lobbyists were not almost equal to congressmen in the legislative process.
They had an informal role, and often they possessed useful expertise. Though they now have far greater influence, they privately complain that their expertise is often of no value as they can only make suggestions that are in accord with prevailing ideology. They also note that every consideration and contact they make seems to require contributions or at least arranging luxury outings for members of Congress.

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1 comment:

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!