Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lobbyist, Journalist, Whatever....

The brouhaha over Tom Daschle should make one thing clear: Lobbyist, like journalist, and unlike lawyers & doctors, is not a strictly defined position. From an article I linked to earlier, on my other blog:

Daschle, a former senator tapped to head Health and Human Services, is not technically a lobbyist. But he was paid more than $5.2 million over the past two years as he advised health insurers and hospitals and worked in other industries such as energy and telecommunications.
Later the article adds the following:

Once out [of the US Senate, Daschle] was attractive and valuable to all sorts of government-regulated industries, even if he never registered as a lobbyist who could make straightforward appeals for or against legislation affecting his clients.

He received more than $2 million over two years as a senior policy adviser for the
Washington law firm Alston & Bird. He also earned more than $2 million in consulting fees from InterMedia Advisors LLC of New York, an investment firm specializing in buyouts and industry consolidation. An associate let Daschle use his car and driver, for which Daschle had to pay late taxes and interest.

Several health groups also paid Daschle $15,000 or more to speak to their gatherings.

"He welcomed every opportunity to make his case to the American public at large, and the health industry in particular, that America can't afford to ignore the health care crisis any longer," said his spokeswoman Jenny Backus.

If Daschle truly felt the need to make a case on this issue, he wouldn't have demanded exorbitant wages to "plead" his case. It's just another scam.

Of course, such scum as Daschle wouldn't be "attractive and valuable to all sorts of government-regulated industries" in the first place if those industries hadn't been so heavily regulated. All that regulation is just another example of the politicians and government functionaries ensuring their own comfortable existences. Remember that whenever anyone tells you that government regulation and money is the solution to any problem. Government IS the solution to many problems, but don't assume on faith that it can solve anything, or that the people selling on something don't have ulterior motives. For example:
[Fred] Wertheimer, of Democracy21, said that rather than dwell on Daschle's problems or the Corr and Lynn waivers, he focuses on Obama's executive order and the hope of progress to come on public financing of campaigns.
I have no doubt that Mr. Werthhiemer really has the interests of public employee unions and the Democratic Party at heart more than anything else. I base this knowledge on his forgiveness of Obama's many transgressions concerning both lobbyists in government and campaign finance. If he truly cared about these issues, he wouldn't be such a shill for one party.

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