The New York Times published an article last Sunday detailing the connections Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has with
lobbyists in Washington. This article is by no means an isolated event. Various other news articles have been questioning Boehner’s corporate, “special interest” ties.
At a speech in Ohio, President Obama mentioned Boehner’s name eight times. As of now the only source of information that hasn’t commented on Boehner is my network of 14 uncles who tend to send me long-winded chain emails. But I’m sure those will start to come in any day now.
The New York Times article did much more than detail Boehner’s golfing and smoking habits while tossing in an obvious joke about his complexion (we get it, he’s tan … new joke, please.) The article listed some of Boehner’s former aides and “longtime associates and friends” who are lobbyists.
Given the tone of the article, this information seemed to belong on the editorial page; it should not have been presented as just basic information. In response, The Washington Examiner released an article which stated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has raised twice the amount of money from lobbyists as her GOP counterpart.
To take all of this one step further, a search of Lobbyists.info showed more lobbyists who previously worked for Pelosi than for Boehner. Given the rhetoric (which comes from both sides of the aisle) about the evils of the “revolving door,” perhaps members of Congress would be wise to run a quick check on what their own former staffers are doing.
Pelosi’s lobbying ties include former staffers who are now registered lobbyists at The Podesta Group, Akin Gump, Amgen Inc., and King & Spalding. Not all of Pelosi’s former staffers are registered lobbyists, despite working for registered organizations and coalitions. Individuals fitting this bill include persons at Planned Parenthood of America and United for Medical Research.
In addition to the individuals listed already by the NYT, Boehner has connections through former employees to lobbyists at Marriot International Inc., Boeing, and the lobbying firm Arent Fox.
Now I’m no political strategist, but it seems that crying wolf over lobbying ties might not be the best course of action for Speaker Pelosi. Perhaps it’s time for both parties to call a lobbyist-as-the-bad-guy truce.