News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecabal-elitew-administrationbig-money — Viewing Item

GOP K street lobbyists access

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Lobbyists pay for access
K Street Dems give voting info to GOP whips
By Jonathan E. Kaplan

Democratic lobbyists are giving House Republican aides and lawmakers closely held information about the voting intentions of congressional Democrats in exchange for access to private meetings with GOP officials on Capitol Hill.

For House Republican whips, the inside information on Democratic voting strategies can yield a crucial awareness of what the ultimate vote count on the floor might be.

That helps determine how much pressure GOP whips need to apply to their Republican colleagues.

The pressure on Democratic lobbyists to cough up information parallels the K Street Project, which is aimed at putting Republicans in top lobbying posts. Both the K Street Project and the demand for intelligence on Democrats highlight the fact that access comes at a price.

House Republican sources provided The Hill with e-mails showing lobbyists providing information about Democratic whip efforts to defeat the foreign sales corporation (FSC) tax measure. The $143 billion in tax breaks for corporations passed 251-178; 48 Democrats broke ranks and voted for the bill, and 23 Republicans opposed it.

The e-mails reveal that some Democratic lobbyists are willing to sell out their former bosses and that House Democratic leaders are having difficulty keeping their members in line.

In an e-mail, a Democratic lobbyist asks permission to attend a meeting about FSC: "I heard there is a ... meeting tomorrow at 3pm. Is it OK for me to attend on behalf of my clients?"

The GOP aide replied: "Sure, but what intel are you gonna get us? You worked for [Rep. Robert] Matsui [D-Calif.] right? Where are the California Dems? Is [Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] really holding Dems feet to the fire?"

The lobbyist replied: "Yeah, I worked for Matsui (back when he was [for] free trade). I think Pelosi will be working this hard -- you probably already know this, but I just heard that the Dems will be putting in repatriation in their substitute (which will mollify the [California] and West Coast Dems)."

Lobbyists had to jump through a number of hoops to gain access to congressional meetings on the FSC measure. Sources from the coalition of business groups pushing for the bill said that to attend Hill GOP meetings on the legislation, Democratic and Republican lobbyists had to deliver formal letters in support of the measure to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).

Thomas introduced the bill Friday, June 4, and by Monday, dozens of letters came pouring in before a planned meeting that afternoon with Thomas and staff from the GOP whip operation. Lobbyists delivered over 90 letters of support for Thomas’s bill.

Another e-mail supplied to The Hill shows a Democratic lobbyist sharing with a Republican aide information about Democratic whipping efforts.

"Our sources have told us that [Minority Whip Steny] Hoyer [D-Md.] is not necessarily cracking the whip on FSC. Hoyer acknowledges it will pass, wants to make it as painful as possible and does not want Democrats to think this is a free vote."

The e-mail continued, "The bill cuts across the Democratic caucus in so many different directions that Hoyer has no idea where Democrats stand on FSC. Hoyer’s whips now ... are not twisting arms because they are losing people anyway. Hoyer staff said it is not worth exerting the maximum energy on a full all out arm twisting whip counting effort, but it is worthwhile ... to tighten up the Democrat vote count, keep people with their party, and where possible to keep pressure on the GOP whip effort."

A senior Democratic aide said the information about Hoyer’s whip effort was wrong, adding: "It is a sad day when Democratic lobbyists sink to trading inaccurate information on sensitive issues to buy their way into a room just so that they can watch Republican lobbyists help the Republican majority in Congress grow larger.
Any lobbyist who provided this inaccurate information should be ... ashamed that they were used as pawns in a Republican game in return for crumbs."

Pelosi told reporters she expected some Democrats to defect because of regional concerns, such as the tobacco buyout and sales tax deduction provisions.

She added, "But the fact is that they throw a few crumbs because they cannot sell this bill to their own members. ... Hopefully, we can keep that number to a minimum."

Immediately before the vote, an unidentified lobbyist told a GOP aide: "Lots of Dems getting heat from their leadership saying why Dems putting Rs over the top on this bill."

Another lobbyist’s e-mail tells GOP aides that the Democrats held an informal meeting before that vote and "were hammered to vote against [the bill]."

The party that controls the House has always relied on lobbyists to glean information about opponents’ strategy.

Ex-Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), the House majority whip from 1985 to 1989, told The Hill: "We sought whatever information we could. We cultivated lobbyists."

Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also counts on lobbyists for information about vote counts: "We’re always looking for people on the other side," he said, adding that lawmakers who tell other lawmakers they plan to defect is usually the most accurate information.

But for lobbyists caught trading information for access without being upfront about it, Coelho said there were stiff penalties: no letters, no phone calls returned, no future invitations.

"If somebody came into that meeting, and they were not honest in what their purpose was -- once caught, I don’t give a damn how much you apologize," he said. "I would go after that individual. I would tell the clients that their lobbyist has no influence."

He added, "What we did ... in the days that I was there, there were no Republican and Democratic lobbyists. We never cared. The issue was they wanted to deal with us, and they had to be honest with us about what [they knew]."

Just before the vote, Democratic lobbying efforts continued on the House floor where Pelosi "was having a heated conversation" with Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), a GOP leadership aide said.

But another senior Democratic aide disputed that characterization and said that Price and Pelosi, along with Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), were just talking about the tobacco-buyout provision.

Price voted for the bill.

Josephine Hearn contributed to this article.

2006 cuts in domestic spending across the board { May 27 2004 }
42 senators millionaires
Abramoff tied to white house photographed with bush
Advocates of war now profit from iraq reconstruction { July 14 2004 }
Bankruptcy law tough on katrina victims { September 8 2005 }
Bill making bankruptcy difficulty passes { April 15 2005 }
Bush aids finances detailed { June 16 2003 }
Bush appoints telecom lobbyist to fcc { February 4 2006 }
Bush budget cost more billions
Bush campaign raises 84m { October 14 2003 }
Bush charges 9m for african president meeting { November 10 2005 }
Bush enron ties in spotlight
Bush protects pharmaceutical and insurance from lawyers
Bush raises millions california { June 28 2003 }
Bush rejects tax on oil windfall profits { March 2006 }
Bush replaces government jobs with private contracts { April 18 2005 }
Bush signs law curbing class action lawsuits
Bush signs transportation bill full of pork { August 11 2005 }
Bush slashes domestic programs boosts defense
Bush turns to big military contractors for border control { May 18 2006 }
Bush wants to protect telecomm companies { February 12 2008 }
Chinese mega bucks for bush brothers { December 16 2003 }
Corporate power is US driving force { July 15 2004 }
Delays corporate gop fundraising investigated { July 12 2004 }
Donors stay in the lincoln bedroom
Energy bill exploits katrina to pay off oil industry { October 5 2005 }
Enron money helped GOP redistribution effort { July 12 2004 }
Financial firms are bushs biggest donors { January 9 2004 }
Fundraiser denies link between money access { May 17 2004 }
Goldman sachs workers big donations to bush { August 20 2004 }
GOP K street lobbyists access
Gop lobbyists invisible powerful world
Gop reaping in lobbyists { June 26 2003 }
Gop to renew tax cut for wealthy { May 10 2006 }
Gop uses katrina to ease energy laws { September 28 2005 }
Halliburton secret nobid iraq work contracts { June 16 2004 }
Healthcare overhaul is quietly underway { January 31 2005 }
House energy bill will foul air
Ken lay blames friendship with bush
Lobbyist appointed leader gop { June 17 2003 }
Lobbyist defends 800k contingency fee { January 4 2004 }
Lobbyists hire lawmakers kid { June 22 2003 }
Lobbyists kids not alright { June 24 2003 }
Lobbyists senators sons { June 23 2003 }
Mccain wants local business rebuilding instead of halliburton
More area money goes to bush
Oil lobbyist watered down climate research { June 9 2005 }
Power elite george w
Record deficit rein in domestic costs { January 4 2004 }
Refinery bill guts clean air pollution standards
Republicans are the big spenders { August 4 2005 }
Republicans backed by big business block labor bill { June 26 2007 }
Republicans conflicting loyalities to oil industry { May 4 2006 }
Rumsfeld sold ownership in pentagon contractors
Security aids switch to lobbying { April 29 2003 }
Senate approves 447b defense budget
Senate passes large corporate tax legislation { October 11 2004 }
Senate refuses to close wealthy loophole on bankruptcy
Senators financial holdings revealed { June 14 2003 }
Spending surges to historic level
Thanksgiving brings feeding frenzy round pork barrel { November 26 2003 }
The gop machine made bush supreme
Top campaign donors trade with iran iraq
Two bills benefit top bush fundraisers { November 22 2003 }
Wall street bush biggest donor { October 23 2003 }
Washington insiders consults contracts { September 30 2003 }
Wealthier vote back bush

Files Listed: 67


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple