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Lobbyists Exploit Obama Spending Spree Print E-mail
by Tom McGregor    Thu, Apr 9, 2009, 06:47 pm

Barack Lobbyists.jpgScorned during the 2008 presidential campaign, lobbying is an occupation of choice among former members of congress seeking for jobs.

According to Bloomberg News, “Barack Obama shunned political contributions from lobbyists and, on his second day as president, announced new ethics rules to reduce their influence. Republican nominee John McCain disdained lobbyists as ‘birds of prey.’”

Nevertheless, about one-quarter of the House and Senate members retired or lost elections last year have found new jobs with lobbying firms, where business is booming as Obama pushes for multi-billion dollar changes in federal banking, healthcare, energy and military procurement policies.

Bill Allison, a senior fellow with the Sunlight foundation, a Washington-based watchdog organization, said, “even though some people deplore lobbying, it’s still a growth profession.”

Law, lobbying, and consulting companies have revealed to hiring at least 15 of 61 House and Senate members who departed from their elected offices or were defeated in 2008.

As reported by Bloomberg, “the new hires include Jim Mcrery of Louisiana , who was the top Republican in the House Ways and Means Committee before moving to Capitol counsel LLC, where clients include Roche Holdings AG, the world’s biggest drugmaker by value. Gordon Smith, an Oregon Republican, who sat on the Senate Finance Committee, joined the Covington & Burling LLP firm, which has advised the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group.”

James Walsh, a New York Republican, who retired in January after serving 20 years in Congress and joined K&L Gates LLP law and lobbying firm, claimed companies have legitimate needs for experienced advisers.

Mr. Walsh explained, “there’s a lot of demagoguery going on. Politics is an honorable profession. This profession, consulting can be also as long as you conduct yourself honorably.

To read the entire article from Bloomberg News, link here:

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