THE BLOG
03/16/2006 12:57 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why Is Hillary in Bed with Blank-Rome?

Senator Clinton was right to out the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that targeted her husband's presidency. Now why are she and Senator Kennedy allowing the "ATM of the GOP," uber-lobbying law firm Blank-Rome, to host $1000-a-plate luncheons for them? Blank-Rome, where Swift Boat retired Rear Admiral William Schachte is a lobbyist. Blank-Rome, where Bush Pioneer and re-elect Rick Santorum national finance director David Girard-diCarlo is chairman. Blank-Rome, who lobbied their pals at FEMA to award a no-bid contract to one of their clients to rebuild classrooms after Katrina at double the wholesale price.

I understand why Blank-Rome is finally starting to spread the wealth to Democrats. Perhaps more than any other lobbying firm in Washington they had hitched their wagon to the Bush administration. Now that the sun is setting on that empire Blank-Rome will either have to adapt fast or die. They've hired Heather Podesta, wife of Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta and brother-in-law of one of my heroes, former Clinton chief of staff and now President for the Center for American Progress, John Podesta.

What I don't understand, however, if Democrats are truly serious about distancing themselves from the Republican "culture of corruption," is how they can be in bed with people like this? Are they really the only ones out there with money? Don't they see that the strings attached might be antithetical to every thing they stand for?

Most troubling about these strange bedfellows is that Senator Clinton (and Senator Boxer) have recently been hawking a shady Blank-Rome client, Ionatron. I blogged about them earlier and The New York Post has reported extensively on the company and its founder, serial Wall Street cheater Robert Howard who was fined $42,000 by the SEC for improperly tipping off a friend and then three years later fined $2.7 million for allegedly "issuing false and misleading statements about its earnings projections."

The Post reported last week that Ionatron is part of an ongoing investigation but the SEC will not say if they are the focus of the probe.

Ionatron claims to zap Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with man-made lightning and has been generating good press including a recent cover story in The Los Angeles Times. What they don't tell you is that the gizmos cost a million bucks a pop and we would need thousands of them to make a difference in the lives and safety of our troops. The Talon robots already in the field cost $100,000 and, get this, the amazing new Bombots cost just $5000.

But Ionatron lavished Blank-Rome with $200,000 in lobbying fees as of 2004 so I guess they expect some bang for their buck.