Hilary Rosen. REUTERS/Fred Prouser FSP
Editor’s Note: This article was first published by RepublicReport.org.
Hilary Rosen, a Democratic lobbyist and pundit for CNN, found herself caught up in 24-hour news cycle controversy after she made some inflammatory comments about Ann Romney’s work as stay-at-home mom. Rosen has apologized for her off-the-cuff comments. But the entire story may set off a greater, more substantive inquiry about the nature of Rosen’s consulting firm, SKDKnickerbocker, an unregistered lobbying firm that has become one of the biggest names in the influence business by using its ties to President Obama and leaders in Congress.
Predictably, Republicans have noticed that Rosen is a frequent visitor to the White House. While Democrats are arguing that Rosen is not an advisor to the Democratic Party or President Obama’s reelection campaign, then what are the meetings about? Today in the Politico’s “Morning Money,” reporter Ben White flags a deeper concern:
Per a senior Dem: “Serious Dem operatives are aghast at Hilary Rosen’s misguided attack on Ann Romney’s work history. She and others at PR firm SKD Knickerbocker have represented many clients that have raised hackles with senior White House staff. It’s an open secret in the Dem consultant community that SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment.”
As we’ve reported, SKDKnickerbocker is led by a team of former Democratic operatives and key White House figures. But instead of promoting a progressive agenda, or even an Obama agenda, these consultants score huge contracts by helping corporate interests lobby for policies that are not in line with the public interest. Many SKDKnickerbocker employees, including Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director, are also frequent White House visitors.
We’ve compiled a partial list of SKDKnickerbocker’s clients. Since the firm refuses to register as an ordinary lobbying firm, we don’t know their full roster of clients:
— SKDKnickerbocker was hired by Kaplan Education to block Obama’s reforms on for-profit college companies, an industry plagued by by low quality education, false promises to students, and fraudulent business practices.
— SKDKnickerbocker was hired to push for billions in tax breaks for already profitable corporations. As Bloomberg reported, SKDKnickerbocker manages a lobbying campaign called “Win America,” an effort by companies like Google and Pfizer to receive hundreds of billions in tax breaks on profits made overseas.