Saturday, April 28, 2007

Romney makes big inroads with lobbyists

In a column published this week, Republican presidential candidate and the party's leading fundraiser thus far, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is sharply critical of McCain-Feingold:

America has a rich history of protecting speech, and these protections draw on the unambiguous language of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech." We step into dangerous territory when politicians start eviscerating our fundamental freedoms in the name of amorphous principles, like campaign finance reform. If I am elected President, a top priority will be to push for the repeal of this deeply-flawed measure, and restore the full freedom of political participation and expression to the American people.

Despite his obvious disdain for the current system under McCain-Feingold, Romney has used the current system well, taking a few pages from his supporter Matt Blunt's playbook...actually, the playbook he is using may belong to former Congressman Tom DeLay and Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt.

An examination of Federal Election Commission documents indicates most of Gov. Romney's big contributors were lobbyists or lobbyists' spouses. A quick check of contributions from the Washington, D. C. and Virginia areas alone, showed contributions from 28 lobbyists, who gave $71,500. He received more than $10,000 from Missouri lobbyists and their spouses, including Andrew Blunt, Tony Feather, and Harvey Tettlebaum. Feather, of course, has signed on with Gov. Romney's campaign.

Those contributing to the Romney campaign include:

-Elliott Stanton Berke, former general counsel for Tom DeLay, $2,300. Berke's wife also contributed $2,300.

-Gregg Hartley, former chief of staff to Roy Blunt, $2,300. Hartley's wife also chipped in with $2,300.

-Mark Isakowitz, Isakowitz of the lobbying firm of Fierce & Isakowitz, served as host for a Tom DeLay fundraiser on Nov. 17, 2005. His firm has major nationwide clients, but also represents the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Joplin Coalition, and Greene County. Isakowitz gave $2,300.

-Craig Fuller, former chief of staff to Vice President George H. W. Bush, now a powerful lobbyist with the Fuller Group, $2,100

-Andrew Maloney, former chief of staff for Tom DeLay, now a lobbyist, $2,300

-Roy Coffee, not the sheriff of the same name from "Bonanza," but a lobbyist with ties to disgraced former Congressman Bob Ney, $2,300

-Jim Murray of DCI Group LLC, a firm associated with Missouri lobbyist Tony Feather. DCI boasts of supplying third-party support for issues, which means creating basically fictitious grass roots group to support legislation wanted by powerful special interests. Murray gave $2,300.

-Lobbyists from the powerful Patton Boggs firm contributed $16,400.

Imagine how much money Romney might have received from these lobbyists if there was no McCain-Feingold in place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only reason for being for lobbyists is to bribe politicians to push their agendas. It is way past time for the voters of this country to demand that politicians eliminate lobbyists.