Gazprom, the Russian gas company that supplies approximately one quarter of Europe's gas needs, is planning a PR and lobbying campaign in Europe and the U.S. to improve its image, after it cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine in 2006 and Belarus in 2007.
"Sucking in public servants, spewing out lobbyists, K Street spins influence into cash so fast, it's tough to track who landed where," writes Elizabeth Williamson. "Now you can click and find out. Billed by its creators as 'MySpace for the K Street set,' Revolving Door is a new, searchable database on OpenSecrets.org that gives Washington watchers and the merely envious the intel they crave." The Revolving Door database tracks anyone whose résumé includes positions both as a lobbyist and with the federal government.
An apparent astroturf group calling for an end to an electricity rate freeze received $10 million for its programs from ComEd, the largest power company in Illinois. An administrative law judge with the Illinois Commerce Commission has ordered an investigation of financial ties between the company and the group Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE).
The Los Angeles-based group Environment California says an industry-funded group is using "misleading research and tobacco industry-style lobbying to influence the debate on the effects of perchorate." Perchlorate is a rocket fuel ingredient and "a known thyroid inhibitor" often present in water supplies near military and manufacturing sites.
Guest poster: Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation
Exit polls show that the 109th Congress severely misread the American voters and believed that passing lobbying and ethics reforms was unnecessary, despite the parade of FBI raids, criminal indictments, and jailed lawmakers and lobbyists. The leaders of the new Democratic majority have promised to enact the reforms the previous Congress shied away from.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is planning to launch a major "educational advocacy" program in January 2007 to influence the incoming Congress. The API represents 400 major oil and gas producers. According to PR Week, the program will include increased television advertising, speeches by economists and industry executives and tours of oil and gas operations for think tank staff and politicians.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA), a U.K.-based trade association, is lobbying against a European Union proposal to require companies to manufacture cigarettes that reduce the chances of causing a fire if not being smoked.