In politics, like in war, to the victor go the spoils.
After the election, top campaign operatives will spin through the revolving door to quickly cash in on their access to powerful politicians. The DCI Group, a DC lobbying firm involved in several aggressive attack ad efforts against John Kerry in 2004, scored significant lobbying gigs during the Bush administration. As I’ve detailed, President Obama’s communications director went on to work at a lobbying/consulting firm that pressured his administration on behalf of the deceptive for-profit college industry.
Though the problem exists on both sides, one must marvel at the number of corporate lobbyists leading efforts to defeat President Obama. With the cottage industry that is the world of Republican Super PACs and 501(c) groups, a new class of consultants will be eager to cash in on the spoils of a Mitt Romney presidency.
I took a closer look at the biggest outside spending groups filling the airwaves with pro-Romney or anti-Obama advertisements, and found a pretty familiar trend:
Crossroads GPS/American Crossroads (Spent at least $72 Million on ads):
Steven Law is president of Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, the outside spending groups founded by Karl Rove. Law came to Rove from the US Chamber of Commerce, where he worked as a lawyer on the Chamber’s lobbying team. Law’s name appears on disclosures showing he played a role on the Chamber’s efforts to bail out the big banks, fight caps on bonuses to AIG and push for corporate tax cuts.
American Crossroads chairman Mike Duncan hasn’t waited until the election to join a lobbying group. A few weeks ago, he became chief lobbyist to an association that advocates on federal policy for coal companies.
Steven Duffield, the policy director of Crossroads GPS, also runs his own lobbying firm called Endgame Strategies. Duffield once advertised his ability to manipulate Senate rules on behalf of his corporate clients. A now-deleted line from his website touted his ability to find “backbench Senate Republicans” who can “exercise their prerogatives to delay or obstruct”—i.e., filibuster—legislation on behalf of Duffield’s clients.
Americans for Prosperity (Spending at least $125 million on ads and field):
Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips, a close political adviser to David Koch, is a former grassroots lobbyist at the firm Century Strategies. Phillips, who still owns his own firm called New Dominion Strategies, specializes in manipulating the conservative grassroots into supporting his corporate clients’ interests. At Century Strategies, Phillips’ firm mobilized “pro-family groups” to push energy deregulation on behalf of Enron, and for a local tycoon organized Christian activists to oppose anti-sweatshop legislation for the Marianas Islands by claiming it would prevent workers from learning the “teachings of Jesus Christ.” He now leads opposition to clean energy programs and Democratic Party candidates on behalf of the Koch brothers.
Tracy Henke, Americans for Prosperity’s COO and executive vice president, comes to the group from a career of Republican campaigns and lobbying gigs. She’s represented firms like Oracle Corporation and CEELOX, a biometrics security company.
Alan Cobb, Americans for Prosperity’s vice president for state affairs, is a former lobbyist for Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned in part by AFP’s billionaire benefactor, David Koch.
Restore Our Future (Spent at least $87 million on ads):
After leading a Republican outside money group in 2010, Carl Forti founded the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future and continues to direct its spending efforts. Forti’s consulting firm, the Alexandria-based Black Rock Group, says it helps private sector firms accomplish policy goals through “more than lobbying” that influences “the grassroots to grasstops and up the legislative chain.”
Charles Spies, the treasurer for Restore Our Future, is an attorney with Clark Hill, a law/lobbying firm. Clark Hill currently represents Wynn Resorts, Compuware Corp., and other corporate clients.
Republican Jewish Coalition (Spent at least $3.7 million on ads):
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s board has many lobbyists: RJC board member Bradley Wine* previously lobbied for Dickstein Shapiro and now works in the government relations practice of law/lobbying firm Morrison & Foerster; RJC board member Wayne Berman, consistently ranked as one of K Street’s top “hired guns,” is now an in-house lobbyist for the Blackstone Group, a large private equity firm; RJC board member Norm Coleman is a former US senator from Minnesota and current lobbyist with Hogan Lovells; and Mark Isakowitz, president of the top-grossing lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz, & Balock, who once threatened lawmakers with $4 million in negative advertising if they didn’t vote his way.
FreedomWorks (Spent more than $9.7 million on ads and field):
Dick Armey, a former Republican congressman who left Congress to work as a corporate lobbyist at the firm DLA Piper, leads FreedomWorks. After being exposed for his pushing the Tea Party to support many of the same goals as his clients, Armey left DLA Piper in 2009.
FreedomWorks board member C. Boyden Gray is a longtime DC lobbyist whose firm Grey and Shmitz represents the US Chamber of Commerce in fighting financial regulations.
Americans for Job Security (Spent at least $8.8 million on ads):
Michael DeMaura runs Americans for Job Security, a pay-to-play front for corporate money in elections for many years. Public Citizen and other watchdog groups have detailed the ways DeMaura and his cohorts have used his group to launder corporate dollars into elections. As The New York Times reported, an Alaskan mine interest gave $2 million to Americans for Job Security in exchange for developing a campaign in support of a ballot initiative that would help approve the mine.
Update: This post originally claimed that Bradley Wine works for Dickstein Shapiro. He left that firm earlier this year to join a different lobbying firm, Morrison & Foerster.