DeLay's K Street Legacy

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Here is Tom DeLay, telling Time Magazine about his proudest "achievement"--capturing K Street for the Republicans.

 

The opponents HATE what we do—what we have done in the last 11 years in the majority. We have built the largest political coalition of my adult lifetime. They hate that. We have been effective for 11 years going now, doing some pretty amazing things. They hate that. The reason we've been effective is we've tried to change the culture of Washington, D.C. And do it legally and ethically. The Democrats hate the fact that their culture of K Street has been changed from a totally dominated Democrat K Street [lobbying community]to a totally dominated Republican K Street. Nothing illegal about that at all. And we built that. When we took over in 1995, the K Street contributions to elections was 70/30—70 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican. Today it's 60/40—60 percent Republican and 40 percent Republican. That's a change in culture. Democrats and the left hate that, and they have worked very hard to destroy it.

Legally? Questionable. Ethically? Hardly. We suggest you read a speech given recently by Bill Moyers that goes into the details of how the K Street Project worked--and how it perverts our democracy. Here is an excerpt:

The rules were simple and blunt. Contribute to Republicans only. Hire Republicans only.  When the electronics industry ignored the warning and chose a Democratic Member of Congress to run its trade association, DeLay played so rough – pulling  from the calendar a bill that the industry had worked on two years, aimed at bringing most of the world in alignment with U.S.  copyright law – that even the House Ethics Committee, the watchdog that seldom barks and rarely bites, stirred itself to rebuke him – privately, of course.

DeLay wasn’t fazed.  Not only did he continue to make sure the lobbying jobs went to Republicans, he also saw to it that his own people got a lion’s share of the best jobs.   At least 29 of his former employees landed major lobbying positions – the most of any Congressional office.  The journalist John Judis found that together ex-DeLay people represent around 350 firms, including thirteen of the biggest trade associations, most of the energy companies, the giants in finance and technology, the airlines, auto makers, tobacco companies, and the largest health care and pharmaceutical companies.  When tobacco companies wanted to block the FDA from regulating cigarettes, they hired DeLay’s man.  When the pharmaceutical companies – Big Pharma – wanted to make sure companies wouldn’t be forced to negotiate cheaper prices for drugs, they hired six of Tom DeLay’s team, including his former chief of staff.  The machine became a blitzkrieg, oiled by campaign contributions that poured in like a gusher.

Watching as DeLay, with the approval of the House leadership, become the virtual dictator of Capitol Hill, , I was reminded of the card shark in Texas who said to his prey, “Now play the cards fair, Reuben, I know what I dealt you.”  Tom DeLay and his cronies were stacking the deck. 

 

Also check out this posting over at Think Progress