Skip to comments.Bundlers poised for power over supercommittee (Patty Murray)
Posted on 09/20/2011 12:08:38 PM PDT by bronxville
[...]Take AT&T, for example. The telecommunications giant is pushing for the supercommittee to increase wireless spectrum, reform corporate tax and minimize government regulation. The company, which is also in the midst of fighting for its merger with T-Mobile, bundled $71,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee through the first six months of this year and $20,750 last year for Washington Sen. Patty Murray, who co-chairs the supercommittee and runs the campaign arm that is charged with maintaining a Senate majority next November.
In fact, Murray received the most bundled contributions of any individual supercommittee lawmaker since last year, also taking in $100,400 in campaign checks from Microsoft and $25,650 through Tim Thompson of Thompson & Smitch Consulting.
Veteran Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group, may be the best-connected lobbyist to the supercommittee he bundled $96,500 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and his firm directed $257,250 for the DSCC in the first half of 2011. Podestas clients include defense contractors like BAE Systems and General Dynamics and major oil and gas companies like Duke Energy and BP America which have millions at stake if the panel slashes defense programs and eliminates oil and gas subsidies.
The political influence game is not just a Democratic phenomenon. Harry Sporidis of Polsinelli Shughart, whose clients include private health care companies and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, bundled more than $32,000 for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) this year. The oncology group has been lobbying the panel to address Medicare physician payments, particularly the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which it believes is threatening seniors access to quality oncology care.
Fundraising for supercommittee members has become a sensitive topic: Panel member Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has stopped scheduling new fund raisers while serving on the committee, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says hes scaling back.
But others including Murray and her co-chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) dont see a problem with continuing to fill their coffers. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Democratic Reps. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland have fundraisers scheduled this week.[...]
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63802.html#ixzz1YWMO82rb
Solynra also paid Dutko Worldwide to handle its loan application last year (which is apparently very detailed and over two hundred pages long).
Dutko Worldwide had been around K-street for 30 yrs but from 2008 (Dems took over) contracts dwindled almost, as if, it was deliberate else how would they have survived 30 yrs. They eventually had to sell. A British Global Company called Huntsworth (top guns) bought them out in 2009, built the program they used in Britain, ME, and Asia (are we being standardized?).
The Chairman of Dupko Worldwide is an ex-Chairman of Goldman Sachs International .
Andy Wright is the President. He went directly to Dutko Worldwide from the office of Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), where he served as Chief of Staff. Sherman is a senior member of the House Financial Services, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Bill Andresen is a senior vice president in charge of federal lobbying at Dutko. Hes a part of Harry Reids K Street Cabinet, he was chief of staff to Sen. Joe Lieberman, and has worked with advocacy groups for centrist dems, such as, the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and the Third Way, which is PUSHING FOR CLOSER TIES TO BUSINESS.
From their site:
Each year, 1-3 graduating Tufts seniors are chosen for a 10-month paid fellowship. The placement site is to be determined based on the applications received and the Fellow selected.
The following organizations are examples of past placement sites:
The Democratic Leadership Council/Progressive Policy Institute:
American Enterprise Institute
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
***The Republican Governors Association*** (one of the students got a placement in a Seattle office)
New America Foundation
The National Partnership for Women and Families
International Senior Lawyers Project
Global Fairness Initiative
Americans for the Arts
Center for American Progress
Tom Daschle and Terry McAliffe are Board Members.
Was anyone asked to vote for these changes in our way of governing? It appears were being forced via silent coercion into this Third Way.
McBees Strategies Consulting, lobbyists, (with management consisting of Democrat ex-Aides from Dicks and Murrays offices - the CEO a son of a long-time and well-known in DC lobbyist), got money from Solyndra to lobby on their behalf.
Dubko Worldwide, communications, (with management consisting of Democrat ex-Aides - President was Shermans Chief of Staff), got money from Solyndra to write their application. Then what happened? I wish I knew how the system worked. Going forward, it looks like a member of American Progress, Steve Spinner, approved an application (completed by Dubko), for half billion dollars. And its obvious that McBees lobbied successfully but not with whom? Did they lobby the old way (however thats done) or did they get a referral from a government staff member?
These specific companies are manned with ex-Aides from Patty Murray, Dicks, Lieberman, Shermans (senior member of the House Financial Services, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees) offices and Harry Reids K-street Cabinet. That alone should quality the government as a Company a Business Conglomerate. Anyone here know how this lobbying system worked as compared to this process? One does see how they needed National Socialized Healthcare.
PS: I think this is something else that was heralded in by the Clintons. When one investigates any internet site of power - theyre on the board.
What’s easier than bribing 100 Congresscritters?
Bribing only six.
Thanks Boner and McConjob, you did a GREAT thing!!! (sarcasm)
It appears that Murray and Dicks helped set-up a company who would become a personal cash cow, just as the father of the CEO has taken care of them for years.
McBees Strategies Consulting were lobbyists for Solyndra.
Lobbyists are Sen. Murray’s biggest donors
July 5, 2010
Top lobbyist donors
On Murray’s list of top-10 contributors are two lobbying firms. Employees at Denny Miller Associates of Washington, D.C., have given $84,200 since 2005. Miller lobbies on behalf of a wide range of clients in Washington state, including Boeing, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Swedish Medical Center, as well as defense contractors.
The other firm is McBee Strategic Consulting, whose founder, Steve McBee, once worked for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton. The firm’s president of Northwest operations is Rick Desimone, Murray’s former chief of staff. McBee has given $58,600 since 2005 to Murray’s campaign and to her PAC.
M-PAC is the 16th-largest leadership PAC in the Senate, with $435,000 in contributions between January 2009 and April 2010.
Murray has dipped into M-PAC to support a host of Democratic candidates and groups. Recipients include Reid, the Senate majority leader; Senate Policy Chairman Sen. Byron Dorgan; and the political-action committee of Planned Parenthood.
Murray’s Washington state colleague in the Senate, Maria Cantwell, is one of 13 senators who do not operate a leadership PAC.
McGehee, the campaign-finance expert, believes that leadership PACs represent influence peddling at its worst: Donors give to curry favors with a lawmaker, who for the same reason then funnels the money to fellow politicians.
Murray voted for the landmark 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill, which sought to regulate large contributions from corporations and unions to political organizations. She also is one of 47 co-sponsors of the DISCLOSE Act, a legislative counterattack to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned parts of McCain-Feingold...
If Rep. Dicks takes lead on Defense panel, Boeing may benefit
By Roxana Tiron - 02/09/10 09:59 PM ET
...Dickss links to K Street come through Denny Miller Associates. The firm has longstanding ties to Washington state, represents a large number of defense contractors and has hired several former Dicks staffers.
Meanwhile, McBee Strategic was started by Steve McBee, a former policy aide for Dicks. McBee Strategic has expanded far beyond defense. Defense clients are only a small portion of the firms roster.
Dicks was among other members of the House Appropriations Defense panel who were investigated last year by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for directing earmarks to defense companies that had hired the now-defunct lobby shop PMA Group, whose founder is under federal investigation for fraudulent campaign contributions. The OCE closed its investigation into Dicks, finding no cause to continue...
The owner of the Denny Miller [McBee] Associates lobbyist group is the father of [Steve] McBees Strategies. Steve McBee worked as a senior policy aide to Congressman Norm Dicks for four years. The General Counsel at McBees worked for Patty Murray along with other ex-Aides. McBees was a lobbyist for Solyndra. Is that legal? Or “just” crony capitalism?
Patty Murray’s former aides cash in on connection
September 29, 2010
By Jim Brunner and Jonathan Martin
When Sen. Patty Murray announced earlier this month that she had inserted $57 million in earmarks in the 2011 defense appropriations bill, she touted the two dozen projects as critical jobs-creation spending.
It was another election-season reminder of the 18-year Democratic incumbent’s ability to steer federal dollars back home as a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
What Murray didn’t mention is that at least nine of her defense-bill earmarks worth $19.5 million were awarded to clients of her former aides who now work as lobbyists.
At least 17 former Murray staff members have slid over to the lobbying sector, capitalizing on insider knowledge and connections to win favor for their clients, including lucrative earmarks.
They include Murray’s former chief of staff, Rick Desimone, who landed a $1 million earmark in the defense bill for a Canadian medical company with offices in Kirkland. The bill was an even bigger win for Shay Hancock, Murray’s former lead defense staffer, who lobbied for three firms that got $7.5 million in earmarks.
Murray’s clout as an appropriator helps explain why lobbyists and their firms including those that employ her former staffers are among her biggest campaign contributors.
Despite her own network of lobbyist backers, Murray’s campaign and state Democrats have relentlessly portrayed her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, as unethical because of his ties to lobbyists. In particular, they’ve hit Rossi for business deals with two statehouse lobbyists more than a decade ago when he was a state senator.
The role of former Murray aides in getting earmarks is an example of Washington, D.C.’s, “revolving door” of congressional staff leaving for the lobbying world. Those lobbyists and their clients often contribute generously to help get their benefactors re-elected....
...There is nothing illegal about former aides lobbying their ex-bosses, so long as ethics rules are followed and the lawmaker sponsoring the earmark doesn’t personally profit....
...”Unfortunately what this really feeds is this idea that it’s more about access than really having a good product,” said Steve Ellis, vice-president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group....
...Campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards, when asked whether Murray has shown any favoritism to earmark requests from former aides, said, “Of course not. Her only concerns are creating jobs and supporting our troops.”...
...The revolving door is most prevalent among staff who worked for members of the appropriations committees, such as Murray, said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan watchdog group....
The fleet of former Murray staff-turned-lobbyists has gravitated toward a cluster of Washington, D.C., lobbying firms that specialize in Pacific Northwest issues.
Desimone, her former chief of staff, left in 2007 to become executive vice president of McBee Strategic Consulting, founded by Steve McBee, himself a former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton.
Desimone helped Pyng Medical, a Richmond, B.C.-based company, get a $1 million earmark in the 2011 defense budget to develop a bandage-sized device to monitor the breathing and pulse of soldiers in mass-casualty situations.
Other former aides whose clients got Murray-sponsored earmarks in the new defense bill include:
Hancock, whose lobbying biography says he was “the primary architect of the SAFE Port Act,” a 2006 law aimed at improving port security, when he was Murray’s lead defense staffer. Hancock twice went through the “revolving door” from Murray’s office to the private sector, most recently leaving in 2006 for Denny Miller Associates, founded by the former chief of staff of the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson.
Dale Learn, who lists his six-year stint with Murray on a biography that declares his experience and contacts “provide unmatched access and unparalleled advice regarding federal governmental issues.” Learn, a lawyer, manages the D.C. office of the Tacoma law firm Gordon Thomas Honeywell.
Chad See, a former Murray aide now lobbying with K&L Gates, who helped two Eastern Washington clients get defense-bill earmarks from Murray worth $4.5 million.
Christy Gullion, Murray’s former state director, who is now the chief federal lobbyist for the University of Washington, which won a $1.5 million Murray earmark for research on restoration of eyesight for wounded soldiers. Her husband, Jeff Bjornstad, is Murray’s current chief of staff and is on leave managing her re-election campaign.
In interviews, Hancock and Learn said they try to bring to Murray only well-vetted earmark requests that are wanted by the military and that reflect her interest in maritime, technology and veterans issues.
Knowing what she prefers is an advantage, Learn said, but both he and Hancock disputed the idea that she showers her former staff with favor.
“There’s not anything really clubby about Senator Murray,” said Hancock. “She’s been very, very good to me and my career ... . I try to take only the cream of the crop kinds of things to her, that she’d be interested in and her staff would be interested in.”
One of Hancock’s clients, Next IT Corp. of Spokane, received a $1.5 million earmark from Murray, even though its executives donate primarily to Republican candidates, records show. Murray’s challenger, Rossi, reported owning more than $100,000 in the company’s stock in a financial filing.
Since 2006, Learn has donated $17,800 to Murray and her PAC; Hancock has donated $8,800.
Boats, medical monitors
The companies in line for Murray’s 2011 defense earmarks often spent $100,000 or more on lobbying fees to the firms of Murray’s former staffers.
Port Orchard boatbuilder SAFE Boats International motto: “God, Country and Fast Boats!” has paid $240,000 to Hancock’s firm since 2006. The company’s 2011 earmark follows a $6 million earmark sponsored by Dicks in 2008.
Both earmarks paid for development and construction of a 50-foot combat vessel capable of hitting 45 knots. The Navy wants the boats as it transitions to fighting more agile enemies, and needed another boat for training, said Scott Peterson, CEO of SAFE Boats.
The company’s executives have donated $6,800 to Murray since 2006, in part because “she cares about keeping people employed here,” said Peterson, noting that the 2011 earmark would employ at least 15 people for a year.
For Pyng Medical, the 2011 defense bill was the company’s first venture into earmarks, said the company’s CEO Bob DiSilvio.
The U.S. Army has shown interest in Pyng’s concept: small, simple health monitors that flash a red light if a patient’s breathing or pulse rate drops to hazardous levels, DiSilvio said. But the firm needed a congressional sponsor.
DiSilvio said Desimone guided him through the process and accompanied him to meetings with Murray and Dicks’ staff in Washington, D.C. (Desimone didn’t respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.)
Pyng executives haven’t made any campaign contributions to Murray. But the $40,000 Pyng spent on Desimone’s firm paid off. Murray’s proposed $1 million earmark is big for a 40-person company with sales of $6 million last year. DiSilvio said the money will be spent on research and development in the Puget Sound area.
“We’re a little Canadian company that doesn’t know much about this,” DiSilvio said. “You need some support in Washington, D.C., that knows how to get your product or idea in front of the right people.”
“Despite her own network of lobbyist backers, Murray’s campaign and state Democrats have relentlessly portrayed her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, as unethical because of his ties to lobbyists. In particular, they’ve hit Rossi for business deals with two statehouse lobbyists more than a decade ago when he was a state senator.”
This woman must be held accountable especially since she ran on the fact that her opponent was unethical due to his lobbyist ties over a decade ago when she’s doing it up front and in our faces.
Patty Murray is desperate to get control in the powerful Appropriations and Budget Committees. She helped Reid, Dorgan, Kerry, and others with campaign funding therefore has lots of friends who’ll give her what she wants for past favors. She’s taken lobby-money to a whole new level and must be prevented from getting any more power than she already has...
FBI investigates lobbying firm that is generous donor to Dicks, Murray
Questions have been raised about whether some PMA-related campaign contributions were actually given by the people listed as donors. For example, thousands of dollars in contributions to Dicks, Washington Sen. Patty Murray and other lawmakers came from a sommelier and a golf-club employee who were identified as PMA officials on some campaign-finance reports.
By David Heath
Congressman Norm Dicks has never been shy about accepting campaign donations from favor seekers.
Now the FBI is investigating one of Dicks’ most generous donors the powerhouse lobbying firm PMA Group.
Questions have been raised about whether some PMA-related campaign contributions were actually given by the people listed as donors. For example, thousands of dollars in contributions to Dicks, Washington Sen. Patty Murray and other lawmakers came from a sommelier and a golf-club employee who were identified as PMA officials on some campaign-finance reports. The investigation has prompted some lawmakers to distance themselves from the PMA-related contributions. Murray said she has donated $3,500 of her questionable contributions to Food Lifeline, a local charity. Other lawmakers have talked about doing something similar.
Nothing seems to happen with these investigations. They get a slap on the wrist and they’re back at it the next day. Where is the oversight?