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All of you John “Mad Dog” Ashcroft fans will be glad to hear that he’s back in government!
Well, not in government, exactly. Bush’s former attorney general is actually working the smarmy edges of government, having become a Washington lobbyist. He’s the first ex-attorney general ever to put his reputation, expertise, and – most importantly – his connections up for hire as an influence peddler.
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In his pitch to potential corporate clients, Ashcroft is blunt about what he has to sell, boasting that after years as a senator and cabinet officer, he has “developed and cultivated close relationships with leaders… in the top levels of government.” In other words: “Have golden rolodex, will travel!”
Bizarrely, however, Mad Dog says that he’ll be successful because he’s a man of “the highest level of integrity.” Hmmm… Lobbyist… Integrity… Does not compute. Then, getting serious, Ashcroft says that he’ll specialize in getting his former colleagues in the homeland security department to give government contracts to his clients. He’ll also use his insider knowledge to help corporate criminals avoid punishment by regulators. Apparently, these activities are what passes for high integrity in Ashcroft’s mind.
Who’s hiring him? Well, he snickers, “It’s not Billy Bob’s car wash in Peoria.” No, indeed – working for the small guy would take a deep integrity that Ashcroft has never known. Instead, he’s lobbying for the likes of ChoicePoint. This data mining giant was given millions of dollars worth of justice department contracts when Ashcroft was AG, and now ChoicePoint executives are paying him six figures to deliver more of our tax dollars to them.
This is Jim Hightower saying… For John, it’s really about money. He says he’s deeply touched that corporations seem to love him: “It’s been gratifying and I’m earning significant multiples of what I’ve ever earned before.” Now that’s integrity!
“Same Washington, Different Office,” The New York Times, March 17, 2006.