Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jack Abramoff Tom Delay K Street Project

The following is background from wikipedia on Jack Abramoff Tom Delay K Street Project

The K Street Project is a project by the Republican Party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995 by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and then-House majority whip Tom DeLay. It has been criticized as being part of a "coziness" between the GOP and large corporations which has allegedly allowed business to rewrite government regulations affecting their own industries in many cases (see Dick Cheney energy task force).

The project is named for K Street in Washington, D.C., where the largest lobbying firms have their headquarters. Lobbying is sometimes referred to as the "fourth branch of government". Lobbying firms have great influence in U.S. national politics due to monetary resources and the revolving door policy of hiring former government officials. It is widely believed to be common practice for politicians to request money from lobbying firms in exchange for better access to officials, especially members of the United States Congress, and to buy favoritism in policies.

Members of Congress in both parties are promising to reform the rules for lobbying Congress in the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal. Abramoff, a top Washington lobbyist, was a prolific contributor to Republican political campaigns, and has recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges. His campaign contributions, lavish golf trips, jobs that required little or no work, and expensive meals for congressmen and their staffers are the focus of a criminal investigation.

I remember reading an article last year on how Tom Delay was threatening all the lobby groups to be part of the K street project to employ his people or they wouldn’t have access. To me being able to influence hirings is much more significant then patronage as you can effect the culture and ideology of the lobby group.

I am guessing that the K street project succeeded to such extent that nearly all lobby groups where in toe to the Republican party or they were left out. Absolute power breeds corruption and it is not wise to upset people who also play by similar rules and that is why all the corruption scandals are coming up.

If all the pigs are happy then I would guess all these scandals would have been nipped as not to jeopardise the trough.


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