"The U.S. government is a marketplace too rich to ignore," writes Jeffrey Birnbaum. "For the past few years, federal discretionary spending has grown by more than 10 percent a year... In particular, security spending has taken off." PR and lobby firms have certainly noticed: "Fleishman-Hillard Inc just opened a marketing department...
"A whistleblower who uncovered evidence that major drug companies sought to influence government officials has been removed from his job and placed on administrative leave," reports Jeanne Lenzer. "Allen Jones, an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General (OIG), was escorted out of his workplace on 28 April and told 'not to appear on OIG property' after OIG officials accused him of talking to the press. ...
"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."