Monday, October 03, 2011

Only Lobbyists Know The Secrets Of Supercommittee

One of the chief complaints critics had with the debt increase legislation earlier this year was the super legislative committee it created with extraordinary power to pick and choose what federal expenditures would be cut to meet deficit-reduction targets. Politico has a story today describing how a select group of lobbyists have been given access to secrets held by the supercommittee that are shielded from the public.

Want the inside scoop on the supercommittee? Ask a lobbyist.
Reporters and government watchdog groups are up in arms over the  secrecy surrounding the committee, tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the nation’s deficit, which has met more frequently in secret than publicly and has rejected calls to disclose its donors and post its documents online.
But some of Washington’s highest-paid lobbyists aren’t sweating it.
K Streeters with deep ties to supercommittee members and congressional leadership say senior staffers have given them readouts from closed-door committee meetings. For example, senior aides to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who is on the panel, met with several Republican lobbyists on Thursday and among the topics discussed was the prospect for a grand deal. Two days earlier, Kyl and the rest of the committee answered no questions as they brushed past a gaggle of reporters who had waited outside the private, six-hour meeting.
The Thursday meeting with lobbyists isn’t an isolated case. Democratic and Republican lobbyists say they continue to get corporate clients with interests before the committee face time with members and staff . . .
Not surprisingly, the Politico story says most of the members on the super committee are actively fundraising as it goes about its business. Most of the lobbyists hired to lobby the super committee are former legislative staffers. According to a recent Washington Post story, more than 100 former congressional staffers have been hired to lobby the super committee. It doesn't look like that Jack Abramoff prosecutions even put a dent in the K Street lobbying machine. Thank U.S. Rep. Mike Pence for selling out fiscal conservatives by supporting the creation of this new secret government the next time you see him.

1 comment: said...

Sorry for the "sidebar" nature of this link but the Indiana/lobbyist connect makes it tangentially significant.