"Roger Stone, the dirty-tricks hobgoblin of Republican politics, has exploited his Bush connections to become an influence-peddling force in the $13 billion Indian gaming industry," reports Wayne Barrett. "Stone's booming business in such a federally regulated enterprise makes his recent pro bono orchestration of Al Sharpton's double-edged presidential campaign an even stranger covert caper.
"With corporate and union donations banned by a new law, lawmakers are pressing lobbyists to raise campaign money," reports AP. Lobbyist-organized fundraisers must raise at least $10,000 "to lure a freshman lawmaker to one of their events," at least $15,000 for veteran members, and $50,000 for committee chairs.
Three federal appellate court judges have been urged to resign from the board of the Foundation for Research in Economics and Environment (FREE).
"Washington lobbyists, having endured nearly as much verbal abuse this year from the Democratic candidates as President Bush, are fighting back against what they call unfair characterizations," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua reports. The American League of Lobbyists (ALL) asked Democratic Presidential hopefuls to stop demonizing "government relations professionals." In a letter ALL writes, "[Lobbying's] one of the major ways that politicians are held accountable to the people.
"Rep. Billy Tauzin delivered a $540 billion prescription-drug benefit for Medicare. Now, the Louisiana Republican is leaving Congress for a $2 million-a-year job in the drug industry. When it comes to exposing your principles, Rep. Tauzin makes Janet Jackson look coy," the Palm Beach Post writes. Tauzin, who chaired the House Science and Commerce Committee, pushed through the early morning passage of the Medicare bill in December.
Everyone from the highway construction industry to the mining industry, environmental groups and the healthcare and tobacco industry has a stake in Washington politics. As a result, reports the Washington Post, "Pasting ads all over Capitol Hill has become a big business -- so big that Washington is the nation's second-largest public relations market after New York, even though the District is only the 21st-largest city in the country, behind places like Phoenix, Memphis and Milwaukee."
"The rise of Tony Feather from congressional intern to successful lobbyist is a story of loyalty, of good deeds rewarded -- and of Republicans taking care of their own," the Washington Post writes.
"James Glassman and TCS have given birth to something quite new in Washington: journo-lobbying. It's an innovation driven primarily by the influence industry. Lobbying firms that once specialized in gaining person-to-person access to key decision-makers have branched out. The new game is to dominate the entire intellectual environment in which officials make policy decisions, which means funding everything from think tanks to issue ads to phony grassroots pressure groups.
"Major US corporations ranging from Pfizer to Halliburton are mobilizing scores of public affairs professionals across Washington this fall in hopes that the new legislative session will bring an end to years of costly asbestos-related lawsuits," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua writes. "Working separately as the Asbestos Study Group (ASG) and the Asbestos Alliance (AA), hundreds of major companies that have either manufactured or used asbestos are lobbying for protection from more than 600,000 asbestos lawsuits now pending in US courts.