"Election to Congress used to be an end in itself. Now, for nearly half of federal lawmakers, it is a steppingstone to a second career: lobbying," the Washington Post reports. According to a new study by LobbyingInfo.org, a project of the liberal group Public Citizen, 43 percent of Congressional members who have left office since 1998 have registered to lobby.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) has released the results of its year-long investigation into lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry, which found that the industry has spent more than $800 million since 1998 on lobbyists and political campaigns. In the past year alone, the industry hired nearly 1,300 lobbyists, including hundred of former public officials.
"Ed Gillespie, who will help promote President Bush's future nominee to a vacancy on the Supreme Court, is a top-tier lobbyist who represents a host of clients with direct and indirect interests in the outcome of Supreme Court decisions." Gillespie's task is "to use the tools and techniques of a presidential campaign to put together a conservative political machine equipped to take on the alliance of groups on the political left." But his firm,
"Saying their livelihoods are threatened, powerful forces that drive California's $27 billion agricultural economy are mobilizing to defeat a November ballot initiative to ban biotech crops in Sonoma County, and possibly even prohibit such county bans with new legislation in coming days," reports the Sacramento Bee.
In March 2002, Andy Gallagher, then the spokesperson for West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection, drafted a media release to inform residents in Wood County that the toxic chemical C8 was being emitted from DuPont's local plant. But the statement was never released.
The K Street Project - a Republican efforts to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire only Republicans to top positions - now has its own website: www.kstreetproject.com. "The site, open to all, contains news about who was hired in lobby shops, corporate offices and trade associations. It also will carry job postings and a rundown of the political giving patterns of people who are seeking or have taken lobbying jobs.
Lobbying is a thriving business these days. The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 and "amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent," the Washington Post reports.