GOP Lets Corporate Lobbyists Take Over Congress

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

GOP Lets Corporate Lobbyists Take Over Congress

Being a congress critter is not as cushy a job as many assume. After all, they have to write legislation, organize hearings, write speeches, round-up votes, and do all sorts of other legislative-y things to pass laws.

Oh, wait… my mistake. Members now have staffs to do all that, including telling the esteemed legislators how to vote. Few people are aware that congressional staffs have mushroomed and gained far-reaching control over legislation. While the mass media has ignored this power shift, which further removes the people from the making of our laws, corporate lobbyists have long understood it and assiduously wooed staff members with flattery and gifts. But then it dawned on lobbyists that instead of wooing staff – they should simply become the staff. So, when Republicans took charge of the Senate in January, K Street moved right into the Capitol Hill offices of the new corporate-hugging majority.

What a sight to see Tom Chapman, top lobbyist for US Airways, now sitting atop the legal staff of the Senate Aviation panel that oversees – guess who? – US Air. And there's Joel Leftwich, senior lobbyist for Pepsico, where he has pushed furiously to water down the Ag Department's nutrition standards for school lunches. Now he can do much more for the peddler of Pepsi-Cola and Cheetos, for he's the new staff director for the Senate Ag Committee, which will re-write the school lunch funding law this year. What a coincidence! How about mega-lobbyist Mark Isakowitz, whose specialty is punching loopholes in the Wall Street reform law. As new chief of staff for Sen. Rob Portman, Mark is now punching from the inside, and he's already slipped a special regulatory exemption into law on behalf of big derivative traders like GE and the Koch brothers.

If you voted Republican last fall, is this the change you wanted?


This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.