In an election in which exit polls identified corruption as the No. 1 voting issue and Washington's biggest corruption scandal involved lobbying, Democrats won in part by promising to curtail K Street's excesses. Pelosi has said her first act as Speaker of the House in January will be to pass new rules limiting contact between lobbyists and lawmakers. Later in 2007, Pelosi plans to rewrite the laws on pork-barrel spending. She promises that the overall effect of her reforms will be "to break the link between lobbyists and legislation" in Washington.
Ah yes, the good old days when the pure and the clean were about to take over Congress. But of course, as The Hill points out, that was all about smoke and mirrors. In reality, Pelosi's promises aside, nothing could be further from the truth:
At least 19 senior aides for the House Democratic leadership and committee staffs left lucrative K Street jobs to work for the new House majority this year, and some of them now have direct jurisdiction over the industry or interest group they represented, according to an analysis of lobbying and financial disclosure records.
Two senior aides for the Energy and Commerce panel, staff director Dennis Fitzgibbons and general counsel Gregg Rothschild, said they jumped at the chance to leave K Street and return to Capitol Hill and help steer the Democratic agenda.
When Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the elder statesmen and chairman of the panel, approached them, Fitzgibbons and Rothschild readily agreed, citing a desire to rebuild the majority and effect real change.
How nice. Other examples:
The majority staff on the House Financial Services Committee includes two former lobbyists: Michael Beresik, a former lobbyist for H&R Block who serves as a senior policy director for the Committee on Financial Services; and Peter Roberson, a professional staff member of the same panel who represented the Bond Market Association last year.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has hired five former lobbyists as Democratic staff, four of whom represented an industry directly affected by the panel last year: staff director Jim Kolb and senior professional staffers Helena Zyblikewycz, H. Clay Foushee and Jana Denning. Kolb lobbied for the American Concrete Pavement Association and worked for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association; Zyblikewycz lobbied for the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trade Department; Foushee represented the City of Houston?s Department of Aviation; and Denning lobbied for the Aerospace Industries Association of America.
A handful of newly hired Democratic staffers have lobbied for nonprofit groups such as the Global Health Council, an international membership alliance dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS and improving world health, and more liberal-leaning organizations such as the Open Society Policy Center, which advocates for international criminal justice reform, human rights and civil liberties. At least one of these former nonprofit lobbyists, Laurel Angell, now serves on a committee that affects the group's agenda. Angell, who lobbied for Defenders of Wildlife, now serves as a policy adviser for the Committee on Natural Resources.
And, of course this was something which the Democrats vigorously campaigned against:
Many Democrats decried the widespread revolving-door practice when Republicans were in charge. Last year, as part of their "culture of corruption" campaign against Republicans, Democrats vowed to slow down the spinning turnstile if they regained the majority.
When Republicans were considering a lobbying reform bill last year, Pelosi advocated extending the so-called revolving-door ban, which currently prevents members and aides from lobbying for one year after they leave the Hill.
But early this year, House Democrats dropped a provision from their lobbying reform bill that would have extended the revolving-door ban for members to two years after veteran Democratic members balked at the language. The Senate version includes such an extension, and that difference will be a sticking point when the two bills go to conference.
Former Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) inserted a reverse-revolving door provision as part of the compromise with House leaders during the House Judiciary Committee markup of the ethics reform bill. In exchange for dropping the two-year revolving-door prohibition, Meehan won a concession: New congressional staffers who had previously served as lobbyists could not make official contacts with their former employers for one year. But with Meehan no longer in Congress to defend this provision, it's unclear whether it will survive the House-Senate conference.
Actually it isn't unclear at all ... see above. What is clear is they have no desire to keep their promises and, of course, are probably pretty sure you've forgotten all about them anyway. I'm cynical? Heh ... read this:
"You can't legislate morality," Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) explained when asked why he opposed an extension on the one-year revolving-door ban. "There are all kinds of ways to get around these lobbying rules."
Just a little reality check for those of you who actually believed the Democratic promises and bought into their faux outrage concerning the "culture of corruption."
John Murtha, a Pelosi confidant, told centrist lawmakers the week after the election that he thought her reform measures were "total crap."
Murtha’s brother lobbies for some defense contractors.
Democratic lobbyists are doing what they can to fuel the naysaying. "Republican lobbyists have been writing legislation that needs to be reformed, so are we just going to cut off lobbying completely now that we have the chance to fix things?" asks a top Democratic lobbyist.