LOBBYIST CHANGE THEIR STRIPES

One word defines the 2008 political year: Change!

One word defines the 2008 political year: Change!

People are demanding real change, and Barack Obama rode their demand right into the White House. So, no doubt you’ll be delighted to learn that even Washington lobbying firms are responding to the change mandate. How? The Washington corps of corporate influence peddlers is switching from Republican lobbyists to Democratic lobbyists.

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Let’s all shout, “Big Whoopie,” shall we?

Pity the poor Republican lobbyists. They had corner offices on K-street, million-dollar salaries, and a lifetime supply of tassel-toed loafers – but suddenly, BAM, they’re out the door, replaced by Democrats who couldn’t even get in the door a couple of years ago.

For example, Richard Hunt’s Republican head is still spinning. He was riding high as chief lobbyist for Wall Street investment firms. Then, only one week after the election, Hunt was booted. His chair now belongs to Michael Pease, a Democrat who had been a top aide to Rep. Barney Frank, who just happens to chair the House Committee that handles legislation affecting Wall Street firms.

And there you have the true motivation behind the “change” on K-street: Access. The 13,000 corporate lobbyists that infest Washington like to claim that they do honorable work by presenting expert information to lawmakers. Get real. They’re paid the big bucks by their clients because of who they know. It’s all about cashing in on their old-boy insider ties. “Access trumps expertise,” concedes one of the insiders.

So, with Democrats ascendant, “change” demands a changeover in the lobbying cast. The head of one Democratic firm says corporate interests are calling him to say, “We are clueless [about how to get access to the new government], so help us.”

The more some things change, the more they stay the same.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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