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New Republican Lawmakers Tap Lobbyists for Top Staff Roles

4 years ago
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For some incoming Republican lawmakers, the road from their home districts to Capitol Hill detours onto Washington's K Street, home to many prominent "public affairs" firms. A number of 2011 freshmen -- who railed against incumbents beholden to lobbyists -- have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides.

The Washington Post reports that Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who defeated Sen. Russ Feingold after complaining that Feingold "embraced lobbyists and declared himself to be on their side," has himself hired homeland security lobbyist Donald H. Kent Jr. as his chief of staff.

Among others the Post cites:

- Sen.-elect Mike Lee (Utah) has hired energy lobbyist Spencer Stokes as his chief of staff.

- Tea party favorite Rand Paul (Ky.) has brought on anti-union lobbyist Douglas Stafford as his top senatorial aide.

- Rep.-elect Charlie Bass (N.H.) has named food industry lobbyist John W. Billings as his chief of staff.

- Rep.-elect Chip Cravaack (Minn.) has hired former lobbyist Rod Grams (a one-time U.S. senator) as his interim chief of staff.

rep. ron johnsonCraig Holman, of the watchdog group Public Citizen, said hiring from K Street is akin to putting "hired guns" on the staff, giving their former corporate clients an unfair advantage when relevant legislation is before Congress.

But aides to the newly-elected GOP lawmakers insist otherwise, saying the former lobbyists were hired only for their expertise.
"Congressman Bass demands all staff adhere to all House rules and ethics guidelines," said Bass spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne.

Johnson's office didn't respond to requests for comment, the Post said.

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Interesting how all these new GOP are hiring Lobbyists for key roles in their
offices. No wonder Dick Armey did not want to name the corporations that gave
them so much money...These are the people you voted into office...Time to think
again Americans...Do you really want to vote for these GOP again? If NOT, then you deserve what you get...As for myself, I won't settle these sleazy tactics. Now you
know why the rich get richer. God help us and, God Bless America.

December 19 2010 at 3:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

FIRE ALL INCUMBANTS!! Politicians are ONLY out for themselves, their party AND are definately For Sale!!

December 09 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you cant make this stuff up , wow are the american people suckers

December 09 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

Of course Johnson's office didn't respond for comments - his campaign never responded for comments when he was running, either. Makes me wonder if his office will ever respond to his constituents (at least those that are not connected to big business or big lobbies) once he takes office. Say what you will about Feingold - at least he and his staff always made the effort to return communications.

December 09 2010 at 10:20 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to necamw's comment
Dennis Wayne

Meet the new boss,same as the old boss.......

December 09 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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