Friday, June 09, 2006


Reading the following, I'd say that America is still in the hands of the theocrats:

[OPEN QUOTE] But if McCain is going to quiet his critics on the right, he may need to start with Grover Norquist, a wide-ranging activist whose office serves as Grand Central for a disparate collection of conservative pressure groups. Norquist has campaigned against McCain since the New Hampshire primary in 2000 in what looks like a personal feud. He derides McCain as a flip-flopper: a Reaganesque tax-cutter who opposed Bush's fiscal policy. "When people say McCain is raising a lot of money and has got high name ID, the answer is yes, he's going to need all that to overcome his other challenges," Norquist says.

Team McCain dismisses Norquist as being obsessed with the senator and worried that McCain's probe of the lobbying business could imperil Norquist's influence network, the so-called K Street Project, which he built with the likes of former House majority leader Tom DeLay and indicted superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. One senior McCain aide compared Norquist to a classic 1920s tale of a huckster-preacher. "The K Street Project will be moving," said the aide, who requested anonymity to avoid a public dispute with Norquist. "Elmer Gantry had to as well." (Norquist says McCain's aides have made empty threats about the Abramoff investigation, and that Abramoff never tried to involve me in anything that was inappropriate.”) [CLOSE QUOTE] —Richard Wolffe, Newsweek, May 22, 2006 p. 34


The following story is in

[OPEN QUOTE] The K Street Project is a project by the Republican Party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.

K Street in Washington DC is where the big lobbying firms have their headquarters and is sometimes refered to as the fourth branch of government. Lobbying firms have great influence in U.S. national politics due to monetary resources and the revolving door policy of hiring former government officials. It is common practice for politicians to request money from lobbying firms for an exchange in better access to officials and to buy favoritism in policies.

Historically, K Street hires top ex-politicians from both major parties since party in power can vary between elections and among the legislative and executive branches in government. During most of the George W. Bush administration, the Republican party had majority control of both houses of Congress, in addition to control of the White House. DeLay of the House, Rick Santorum of the Senate, and Grover Norquist took this opportunity to expand the K Street Project by pressuring major lobbying firms to hire only Republicans in any new or open positions.

But in June 2004, the Washington Post reported that the power of the K Street Project might be waning. "According to a review of job listings in, a lobbying newsletter, more than 40 percent of lobbyists with identifiable party backgrounds hired in the past six months have been Democrats. During the same period a year earlier, Democrats constituted only 30 percent of those hired." [1]

With "Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) running neck and neck with President Bush in most polls and with the outlook for the Senate a tossup, a wide range of interest groups are filling some of their lobbying and public relations openings with Democrats—just in case the center of influence switches. 'There is some bet-hedging going on that wasn't going on a year and a half ago,' said Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. of Patton Boggs LLP, one of Washington's largest lobbying-law firms." —Washington Post, July 1, 2004

In September 2004, The Hill reported the opposite K Street hiring trend: "Retiring House Democrats are feeling a cold draft from K Street as they seek post-congressional employment at lobbying firms, trade groups and corporations. By contrast, K Street is aggressively courting GOP lawmakers who have announced their retirements, suggesting that the business community is confident the GOP will retain the Speaker's gavel in January and that business wants to fortify its Republican Rolodexes." [2]

Not everyone agreed with the conclusion that "the 'K Street Project' is alive and well"; "Democrats argue that the crop of retiring lawmakers seeking employment is not broad enough to discern a pattern or divine the intentions of K Street." Retiring Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, who was interviewing with 15 firms, said K Street's current GOP bias is needed to balance a long period of Democratic bias, when the Dems enjoyed House majority party status for 40 years. "K Street is still only 30 percent Republican, so there's a lot more work to do to make it even," said Dunn.[3] [CLOSE QUOTE]

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