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  • Wednesday, January 04, 2006


    The K Street Project

    Like it or not, lobbyists have become a part of American political process. People often think of environmental lobbyists or the like, so-called "“special interest"” lobbies. But my rule of thumb is to "“follow the money"” to find out who is actually influencing Congress and legislation. It shouldn't be a surprise that the lobbying groups with the most money are, well, monied interests: industrial, pharmaceutical, energy, military/security, etc.

    With the bribery charges against Jack Abramoff in the news, this might be a good time to visit the tale of the K Street Project. K Street is the street in Washington, DC where many major lobbying groups have offices.

    Their mission statement is fairly bland: "K Street Project is non-partisan research of political affiliation, employment background, and political donations of members in Washington DC's premier lobbying firms, trade associations, and industries." The phrase "non-partisan" is supposed to ease the reader's mind, but my understanding is that the information is intended to A) get rid of Democratic lobbyists, and B) further the careers of Republican lobbyists.

    Bias and favoritism towards one's political allies is nothing new. That's horsetrading politics in a nutshell. The discipline and fanatical focus of the NeoCon generation takes it to another level, however. A recent news story suggested that with Republicans controlling the Executive and Legislative branches of government (and working hard on the Judiciary), they are looking to dominate the next most influential Washington group: Lobbyists.

    This makes sense to me. Already lobbyists sometimes write pieces of legislation that are introduced and passed by Congress almost unchanged. That's power.

    Take a good look at Jack Abramoff. This guy isn't a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington kind of lobbyist, he's a shark in an expensive, tailored suit. In a reversal though, the shark is the one throwing chum out in front of the Congress-critters.

    [For more info on K Street, I recommend Welcome to the Machine: How the GOP disciplined K Street and made Bush supreme By Nicholas Confessore. It appeared in the July/August 2003 issue of Washington Monthly.

    Additional background can be found in this LA Times story as well.]

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