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Tramp, tramp, tramp they come – marching like a conquering army into our Nation’s Capitol.
This is not the newly-elected Democratic majority, coming to take their seats in congress. Rather, these are former-Democratic congress critters and former Democratic staff members surging to join Washington’s permanent army of corporate lobbying firms. They are being deployed to defend the special-interests against the grassroots agenda of the Democrats who’ll soon be running congress.
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You see, the K-Street lobbying powers were locked arm-in-arm with the Republican regime of Tom DeLay, mostly employing lobbyists with tight Republican connections. But – whoosh – DeLay & Gang were swept away with the political wind, so K-Street phone lines immediately began humming with calls to certifiable Democrats, trying to recruit a new army of corporate lobbyists with tight connections to the Democratic leadership.
Take the pharmaceutical industry, which employs more lobbyists than there are members of congress. Even before election day, the drug giants saw the political shift coming and began hiring a new cadre of Democrats to staff their Washington lobby shops. The Democratic staffer on Capital Hill got 3 job offers in one day from drug firms. The price-gouging pill makers were particularly alarmed that the new Democrats coming to congress had been pledging to have the government jawbone directly with their companies to lower their rip-off prices, as governments already do in Canada, Japan, Europe, and elsewhere. “We’ve got a lot of friends on the Democratic side,” says the chief lobbyist for the drug industry – “but clearly we need some more.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… Likewise, Big Oil, the polluter lobby, and others are scrambling to find connected Democrats who’re willing to take six-figure salaries, put on big smiles, and try to smother any populist instincts that the new Democratic majority might have. In other words, the party leadership in Congress has changed – but corrupting corporate lobbyists lurk just the same.
“Elections Cued Change of Guard For Congress, and for Lobbyists,” The New York Times, November 15, 2006.