Dan Coats' former lobbying firm could hardly have a more prestigious address.
The offices of King & Spalding sit on a corner of Pennsylvania Avenue here in the heart of the nation's capital. From the front door, it's a two-minute walk to the White House. From there, it's just another mile and a half to the U.S. Capitol . . .
Until recently, Coats was one of those employees. He'd cashed in big by trading on his years as a senator. He joined one lobbying firm after leaving the Senate in 1999, and then cashed in again, joining King & Spalding after a stint in the Bush administration.
Now Coats wants Hoosier voters to forget that and send him back to Capitol Hill. His story is the revolving-door syndrome to the extreme.
Election Day is approaching fast and Coats is leading Brad Ellsworth, his Democratic opponent, in the polls. For Coats, it's a remarkable feat.
Somehow, he's gotten many voters to gloss over a resume that should disqualify anyone -- no matter how good a person or sharp a mind -- from serving in the Senate. He's asking voters to elect him to the world's so-called most deliberative body after spending years making gobs of money by lobbying his old pals in that same body.
The revolving door, through which lawmakers walk to become high-paid lobbyists, is a crushing problem. Firms with big bucks hire former lawmakers to peddle their client's causes. It is a spirit-breaker for citizens -- an abuse perpetrated by Democrats and Republicans equally.
But this case is particularly glaring. At a time when voters are railing against "politics as usual" in Washington, they're on the verge of electing a lawmaker-turned-lobbyist to the Senate. At a time when voters are complaining about the insider culture in D.C., they are considering electing a man that a King & Spalding news release once touted to clients as a leading member of its team of "Washington insiders" . . .
Because once a politician walks through the revolving door, it should lock behind him.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tully Nails Dan Coats
Star political columnist Matt Tully sums up what many people like myself who are looking for change in Washington think about the dilemma voters in Indiana face in choosing between lobbyist and former Indiana Senator Dan Coats and U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth. I want to see the Republicans recapture the U.S. Senate, but I also despise everything that Dan Coats' candidacy represents. As Tully writes: