Posts Tagged ‘Chris Christie’

Jeb Is Bringing Home the Bacon

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 by Vbhotla

AFTER WEEKS OF JOSTLING for a position in Fox News’ first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle,  the results are in.  According to Fox, based on an average of the five most recent national polls, the candidates in the 9:00PM, prime-time debate will be, “real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Despite trailing Donald Trump in the polls, Jeb Bush should feel confident about his position going into the debate. Discussing the prospect of debating Trump and the other Republican contenders Bush said, “I’m a big boy… I’ll be showing up with my big boy pants on.”

So far Bush has run a very successful financial operation with his dedicated Right to Rise Super PAC raising an enormous $103 million in contributions during the first six months of the year. The Washington Post reports that this also includes “$811,000 from lobbyists and lobby firms.” This accounts for less than 1% of the PAC’s total fundraising, but is still very impressive when one takes into account the strong stance Bush took on lobbying, which Lobby Blog has previously reported on. His suggested industry reforms have not seemed to affect his support among the industry as the Post reports, “Right to Rise brought in $523,325 from lobby firms and $282,850 from 107 lobbyists, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures filed Friday.”

Among Republican candidates Bush received the most amount of support (over three times more) from the lobbying industry followed by Chris Christie and Scott Walker. Christie raised “$219,000 from 42 lobbyists and nine lobby firms” and their affiliated PACs while Scott Walker raised “$102,000 from three lobbyists and firms — $100,000 of which came from Elizabeth Dunn of the consulting and communications firm FTI Consulting, which has a lobbying division.”

 

 

AP Shines Light on Taxpayer Subsidized Lobbying

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

AS IF THE lobbyist’s public image weren’t tarnished enough – a shortcoming of conventional belief that LobbyBlog opposes – the Associated Press has published a widely-circulated article that would make even the most accepting among us seethe.

According to the article, private sector lobbyists are receiving government pensions in 20 states.*  Stephen Acquario, the article’s opening example and a lobbyist for New York’s statehouse, earns over $200k (more than Governor Cuomo himself) yet is entitled to a full state pension.

Though it’s difficult to see any sense in this, it’s useful to understand the supporting argument.  Peter Baynes, Executive Director of the New York Conference of Mayors, who “makes $196,000 a year and gets a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee,” supports this seemingly misguided scheme on the grounds that the lobbyists who benefit can have a positive impact in reducing the overall costs of state pension systems, implying that the pensions they receive eventually pay for themselves.

That is if they have a positive impact in reducing pension costs, which would be woefully difficult to quantify were it even true.  The more probable agenda for many of these lobbyists is actually to cut pensions and benefits received by other government workers, an approach Michael Kink of the Strong Economy for All Coalition calls “do as I say, not as I do,” and which may be more precisely branded as the quintessence of dishonesty.

There are two redeeming factors to this story, the first of which can be generally applied to any lamentable situation.  That is, it could be worse.  As AARP Blog notes, at least this isn’t Celeste Carpiano all over again (who?),

the executive director of the New Jersey Association of Counties, who — after retiring with a $99,000-a-year government pension and lifetime health, prescription and dental coverage and a one-time $53,221 credit for unused sick and vacation time — filed for unemployment benefits.

The other break in the clouds is in how states are responding.  Governor Christie (R-N.J.), perhaps the most vocal opponent of broken pension schemes, has recently signed an executive order creating a Pension Fraud and Abuse Unit.  According to the Governor’s office, “The Unit will recommend all civil and criminal remedies available under the law and petition the appropriate boards as needed for denial of a pension or disability application or revocation of an improperly granted benefit.” (Italics mine).

Despite Christie’s polarizing politics, that’s something all but the unrightful beneficiaries of state pensions can applaud.

*Here’s the full list of states offering pensions to private sector lobbyists.