They said that the new incoming lawmakers would never be co-opted by the establishment elite! But now that a season of campaigning against "special interests" and "Washington insiders" and "K Street lobbyists" is over, guess what is happening to the many freshman lawmakers who once vowed to not become just another creature of the establishment, slouching toward Capitol Hill?
Many incoming GOP lawmakers have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides. Several of the candidates won with strong support from the anti-establishment tea party movement.
These cases illustrate the endurance of Washington's traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric. In addition to hiring lobbyists, many newly elected House Republicans have begun holding big-dollar fundraisers in Washington to pay off debts and begin preparing for 2012.
Yes, lest you thought that all of these insurgent lawmakers were going to spend their time in DC crashing on cots in their legislative offices whilst living the pure life and doing the People's Will, let it be known that they are straight macking with the same old incubi that pervert the legislative process and tilt it toward powerful corporate interests. (This is part of the reason I find all those promises of limited terms to be so hilarious.)
By far, this is my favorite part of this Washington Post article:
Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the Public Citizen watchdog group, said hiring senior aides from K Street gives their former corporate clients an unfair advantage.
"Lobbyists for the most part are hired guns that represent corporations and other special interests that pay for them," Holman said. "Those lobbyists now have direct access to the political agenda of these lawmakers."
It really goes to show how underreported the phenomenon of lobbying and influence-peddling is that Dan Eggen, a veteran political reporter, felt like he had to go and get a quote that provided the dictionary definition of what a lobbyist is, rather than just offering it up himself. Don't worry, though, he provided "balance":
But aides to several GOP lawmakers disagreed, saying these staffers were hired for their expertise and will not grant any special favors to former clients.
I'm guessing that many of these unnamed "aides to several lawmakers" are probably the same former lobbyists, named in this very article, who are now "aides to several lawmakers."
Anyway, as you may have suspected, nothing much has changed around here -- thanks for asking!