Defunct DLC

That great corporate driven lobbyist think tank, the Democratic Leadership Council or DLC, is disbanding. Yes, that lovely organization which brought you financial deregulation, NAFTA, the China PNTR, more income inequality, and Democrats jumping into bed with multinational corporate agendas is officially D.O.A.


The DLC also had two severe deficiencies. The first was its relationship to the business community, which was driven--in large part--by the organization's corporate sponsors. Wall Street had too much sway in the DLC; the Wall Street Democrats--people like Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, Steve Rattner, Roger Altman--tilted the policy focus away from productive corporate investment and toward financial speculation fueled by deregulation. This was not merely a policy mistake, it was a moral failure. The DLC's support for free trade--at the expense of fair trade (demanding equal access for our products from our trading partners)--seems downright foolish in retrospect.

And then there was the war in Iraq, which the DLC supported reflexively, as a way of seeming "strong", without ever really analyzing the intellectual weaknesses of the casus belli--which, combined with the exposure of the financial community's depredations in 2008, provided a final crushing coda for the DLC . In a way, the difference between the DLC in the 1990s and the 2000s was the difference between Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman

Here Come The Lobbyists

Now that the window dressing called financial reform has passed, the lobbyists are marching on regulatory agencies (what a surprise):

Nearly 150 lobbyists registered since last year used to work in the executive branch at financial agencies, from lawyers for the Securities and Exchange Commission to Federal Reserve bankers, according to data analyzed for The New York Times by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. In addition, dozens of ex-government lawyers, who are not registered as lobbyists, are now scouring the financial regulations on behalf of corporate clients.

This is your classic stage two for corporations to destroy any prayer's chance of legislation in the national interest. First they move laws they wish to destroy into regulations and studies. Next up is to decimate the interpretation and implementation of those regulations and of course generate counter "studies", otherwise known as lobbyist white paper spin.

Conference Committee - Where Lobbyists Attack Bills after they have passed Congress

As noted many times, lobbyists are swarming capital hill trying to stop financial reform.

Many of you probably don't know of a major kill legislation lobbyist trick in their arsenal tool basket. That trick is to kill amendments, rewrite the bill in conference committee. After a bill has passed both houses, even with some amendments passing in overwhelming majorities, lobbyists can get their chosen representatives as conferees when the House and Senate bill versions are negotiated to rectify the differences between the two versions.

Conferees are House and Senate members, but only about 3 from each congressional body. So, a select group of 6 or 8 can literally change a piece of legislation after it has passed both houses via conference committee. Lobbyists can get their representatives hand picked by Congressional and or Committee leadership and then override the vote of the Congressional majority.

This is where amendments are literally ripped out, per the conferees and one gets a completely different bill than what passed either the House or the Senate body.

Ridiculous huh?

Too Big To Fail is a Corporate Lobbyist Front Group

TPM Muckraker has done a nice call out on a lobbyist front group Too Big To Fail, using some fairly sophisticated confusion tactics to basically block any financial reform.

But as TPMmuckraker has looked into the group, every indication is that Stop Too Big To Fail is an astroturf operation funded by corporate interests to give the appearance of grassroots opposition to reform.

Gets better. They managed to get blog posts on our classic libeeraaal political sites.

Stop Too Big To Fail's $1.6 million ad campaign, which is targeting Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), asks viewers to tell their senators, "vote against this phony 'financial reform.' Support real reform, stop 'too big to fail.'"

Bank Bail Outs Proved to be "inside job"

What a surprise, it's not what you know, but who you know especially if you want billions in free money to cover your screw up.

A new study from University of Michigan Professors Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura found that the financial institutions who has the strongest political "ties" received the largest bail outs.

Duchin and Sosyura focused on the Capital Purchase Program, the largest TARP initiative in terms of the number of participants and the amount of expended capital. As of late September, nearly 700 financial institutions had received about $205 billion under the program.

The Christmas Gifts to pass "Health Care Reform"

Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle bell rock. The Senate is hot, they know to say not, giveaway, giveaway lobbyists galore, buyouts and paybacks, we know the score...

There are many reports tallying the winners and losers on health care. Of course it's a given that the American people will lose...

The consensus seems to be big pharma won big as did insurance companies.

Firedoglake (they are not always on top of their economics, trust me!) gives 10 reasons to kill the Senate bill, which I find rather scary.

  1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.

The Senate - Where Lobbyists can guarantee anything in the national interest will die

We've just seen health care turn into the for profit health lobbyists' wet dream and now here comes the financial lobbyists (as if the House bill wasn't a bunch of swiss cheese already).

The American Bankers Association issued a "Call to Action" on Wednesday, urging its lobbyists and member banks to make an all-out effort to crush regulatory reform in Senate. As part of that campaign, it lashed out at its community-bank rival, charging it with being too soft on bank reform efforts.

In an unusually frank memo from ABA Chairman Art Johnson, the lobby group congratulates bankers for sending some 300,000 letters to Congress opposing reform, crediting the effort with killing several significant provisions.

Busted! The New York Times Verifies Lawmaker's Speeches Written by Lobbyists

The New York Times has gotten hold of emails proving speeches are written by corporate lobbyists. Now if they would only expose how many bills are as well.

E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.

The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.

Personally I've know this for some time. The public relations techniques of lobbyists are notorious. There are so many lobbyist press kits and white papers, it must look like snow.

Big Pharma to make billions, thanks Obama and Congress!

No, you did not enter a time warp and read about President Bush and the Republicans passing a corrupt prescription drug bill written by lobbyists. Yes, it's 2009. You ready for this?

Pharma Deal With White House On Course To Net Industry Billions:

The deal struck between the pharmaceutical lobby, the White House and Senate Democrats has drastically improved Big Pharma's expected profits, a private industry report finds.

IMS Health, a company that supplies the pharmaceutical companies with sales data, predicts that new health reform legislation -- combined with a projected upswing in the economy and other changes in the pharmaceutical industry -- will result in a net gain of more than $137 billion in total market sales over the next four years.

Read the entire Huffington Post article for the response from PHrMA, the pharmaceutical lobbyist group.

Elliot Spitzer Lays Out Game Plan to Get Rid of the Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a massive corporate lobbyist group and characterized by Elliot Spitzer as a Chamber of Horrors. I couldn't agree more. Bad policies, bad legislation putting the entire nation, economy at risk is the history of this lobbying group.

Spitzer outlines a game plan to rid ourselves of this vile organization. Spitzer suggests public pension funds put pressure on companies to stop their membership to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for once starving the lobbyist beast by cutting off membership fees. Spitzer argues that these publicly traded companies which public pension funds often invest in, are paying the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to block legislation which is against these very state pension funds interests.