June 20, 2007

Uncle Chuck's Suck-Up Strategy: Staffers

With much more bright light shining on relationships between politicians and lobbyists, the process of buying votes has evolved. Now that people have demanded openness regarding schedules of elected officials, the focus of lobbyist interaction has fallen on senior staffers to these officials instead. Chuck Schumer, one of the Democratic leadership that demanded an end to the "culture of corruption", has issued invitations to lobbyists to attend a reception with "Individuals Representing Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus" -- with "suggested donations" starting at $1,000 a plate:

This invite first appeared (in print only) in Jeffrey Birnbaum's K Street column in Tuesday's Washington Post, but Capitol Briefing can add a few notable details. Read the fine print and you'll see that senators aren't the draw at this event, slated for July 10 at the DSCC's Mott House across the street from the Capitol.

Officially, lobbyists are asked to give or raise $2,000 to be a "host" or $1,000 to be a "DSCC friend" in order to meet "individuals representing" Senate Democrats. That's code word for chiefs of staff and staff directors of committees, according to lobbyists who received the fundraising pitch. The image of the invite that was e-mailed to Capitol Briefing included the file name of "chiefs invitation".

It's part of what some lobbyists say is an emerging technique in fundraising by the campaign committees -- gathering a group of top advisers to lawmakers rather than the principals themselves. Lobbyists say they've heard that later this year House Democratic chiefs of staff will be the draw at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The invitation itself has to be seen to be believed. It features a prominent graphic of Chuck Schumer as Uncle Sam, pointing at the recipient and grinning. Why is Uncle Chuck smiling? Because Uncle Chuck has figured out how to get around clean-government efforts and still suck thousands of dollars out of the pockets of lobbyists.

Basically, Uncle Chuck has built a bypass to lobbyist money. Instead of coming into direct contact with lobbyists, the Democrats will send their aides instead. Lobbyists will harangue the chiefs of staff and senior aides within the politicians' offices, and this way the politicians themselves have complete deniability. "What's that you say? No, I never met with Lobbyist X. My legislation couldn't possibly have been influenced by him."

This way, the DSCC still gets its money, the lobbyists still retain their influence, and everyone inside the Beltway stays happy. The only people who lose are the fools who thought the Democrats would end lobbyist influence and clean up Washington once they returned to the majority. Instead, Uncle Chuck has come up with even more ways to hide lobbyist influence from the prying eyes of American voters.

Uncle Chuck may want lobbyists, but does America still want Uncle Chuck or the Democrats?


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (8)

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 20, 2007 6:35 AM

I'll say it again. Make bribing a public official a capital crime for both briber and bribee. Problem solved.

Posted by Angry Dumbo | June 20, 2007 6:56 AM

Chuck is a lawyer-legislator. Then again, most of our legislators in DC are lawyers. What did you expect? Legal ethics. Ha. Thats a good one. There is no honor among thieves.

Posted by Realist | June 20, 2007 7:01 AM

Will you peasants just grow up, shut up, and bend over? No wonder our rulers are going to replace you with Mexicans and Muslims.

Posted by MarkD | June 20, 2007 7:55 AM

Chuck Schumer? The same Senator who has yet to answer for the Michael Steele credit report imbroglio?

Please don't tell me he's not an honorable man. The Democrats are different. They promised to clean up the corruption in DC.

Posted by Keemo | June 20, 2007 8:03 AM


Cracked me up; thanks...

Cybrludite ; nailed it... A bribe is a bribe. This goes on at every level of our government, as well as law enforcement, and most certainly included many Judges. Way tooooo many people in positions of power are on the take; including names such as "Murtha & Pelosi." I often wonder if G.W. Bush was bought out by the Mexican cartel.

Posted by MikeD | June 20, 2007 8:28 AM

"Uncle Chuck may want lobbyists, but does America still want Uncle Chuck or the Democrats?"

Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter--all indications are that the Dems are on a roll.

Posted by LarryD | June 20, 2007 12:36 PM

Problem is, the Constitution guarantees the right to bug Congress and "campaign contributions" are a necessary aspect of Freedom of Speech.

The problems are structural, as long as Congress has so much control, people will try to influence it, properly or improperly. This is one major reason why a smaller, less intrusive, less meddlesome government is desirable.

We could also eliminate re-election campaigns for the Senate by repealing the 17th Amendment, thus going back to Senators being selected by their State legislators. I think this would restore a needed balance between the Federal government and the States, and make the Senate more accountable.

Term Limits would help some too.

I'm seriously thinking the selecting members of the House by lot, from the voting rolls, needs to be experimented with.

Posted by Ken Oglesby | June 21, 2007 10:11 AM

Apparently the voters of NY still want him.
They keep re-electing him.
Or do they?