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  • Newt Gingrich Is Merely a Corporate Shill, Not a Lobbyist

    In the interests of scrupulous reporting, it must be made clear that Newt Gingrich is not, and has never been, a registered lobbyist. He merely accepted millions in fees in exchange for aggressively promoting his clients' business interests before government agencies and elected officials

    In a variety of instances, documents and interviews show, Mr. Gingrich arranged meetings between executives and officials, and salted his presentations to lawmakers with pitches for his clients, who pay as much as $200,000 a year to belong to his Center for Health Transformation.

    When the center sponsored a "health transformation summit" at the Florida State Capitol in March 2006, lawmakers who attended Mr. Gingrich's keynote speech inside the House chamber received a booklet promoting not just ideas but also the specific services of two dozen of his clients. Executives from some of those companies sat on panels for discussions that lawmakers were encouraged to attend after Mr. Gingrich’s address.

    I suspect that many readers who are in the thrall of a Kenyan anti-colonial mindset are unable to grasp the fine distinctions between "lobbying," a debased profession Gingrich would never deign to even approach in his chartered jet, and directing paid clients "access to top transformational leadership across industry and government," which is a valuable and "visionary" service provided by Gingrich and his associates.

    But as with everything, practice makes perfect. For example, Gingrich did not lobby for Freddie Mac, he was simply our country's best paid historian, who happened to "build bridges" with Capitol Hill Republicans on behalf of the morgtage company.

    Similarly, Gingrich is not part of the 1% — especially since the "the concept of the 99 and the 1…is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false" — he's just a regular Newt, with a now-defunct credit line at Tiffany's and a taste for explaining the concept of Americanism and economic mobility from the confines of L'Auberge Chez Francois.

    Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Lobbyists, Money, Newt Gingrich, Republicans
  • Newt Gingrich Received $1.6 Million from Freddie Mac for Not Being a Lobbyist

    Asked during a recent CNBC debate about a $300,000 consulting contract the Gingrich Group signed with Freddie Mac, Newt Gingrich explained that he provided historical expertise to the government-backed mortgage firm. Luckily for Gingrich's sterling credibility, he did emphasize that he was a "historian" and not an accountant

    Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.

    The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse.

    Look, a man's got to pay down his Tiffany's credit line one way or another. Besides, Freddie Mac officials and Gingrich do agree that the former Speaker did not formally engage in lobbying nor did he write any "white paper or any other document the firm could use on its behalf."

    But if Gingrich was focused on providing internal strategic advice to Freddie, why couldn't he save the mortgage giant from near-collapse? Perhaps because Gingrich's historical expertise lies largely in writing historical fiction, featuring scenes like this

    Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto to him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. "Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things," she hissed.

    Sources within Freddie Mac claim Gingrich never "raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Mac's business model," but I think they just misinterpreted his advice.

    If someone were to tell me, "the collateralized mortgage obligations sat athwart America's breast, transforming themselves from teasing instruments of securitization to seductive but toxic debts, thrusting away at our nation's creditworthiness," I too would have a hard time reading beyond the turgid prose.

    Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Imgaes News/Getty Images

    Tags: Lobbyists, Money, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans
  • The Daily Show on How a Bill Doesn't Become a Law

    You've probably always wondered about all of our country's non-laws that don't not un-affect of lives and where they don't not come from. Well, wonder no more more, because you're about to not anti-know…

    The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11/10c.

    Tags: Health, Health Care, House of Representatives, Lobbyists, Senate, The Daily Show, Video, Wyatt Cenac
  • Tweet Untweet: Lobby Blob

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    Tags: Lobbyists, Tweet Untweet, Twitter
  • Barack Obama Does Not "Take" "Money" from "Lobbyists"

    You've got to admit. It was pretty commendable of President Obama to promise not to take any money from lobbyists for his 2012 reelection campaign, wasn't it? Everybody knows that K Street and the influence of corporations, via Washington lobbyists, are eroding the foundations of middle class America.

    That's why I'm so glad that Obama opted instead to take his corporate money through bundlers

    At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s "bundlers" — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign…

    [T]he bundlers are in many ways indistinguishable from people who fit the technical definition of a lobbyist. They glide easily through the corridors of power in Washington, with a number of them hosting Mr. Obama at fund-raisers while also visiting the White House on policy matters and official business…

    Take Sally Susman. An executive at the drug-maker Pfizer, she has raised more than $500,000 for the president’s re-election and helped organize a $35,800-a-ticket dinner that Mr. Obama attended in Manhattan in June. At the same time, she leads Pfizer’s powerful lobbying shop, and she has visited the White House four times since 2009 –twice on export issues. But under the byzantine rules that govern federal lobbying, Ms. Susman has not registered with the Senate as a lobbyist.

    Welp, there you go. She hasn't registered as a lobbyist, therefore she is not a lobbyist. Ipso facto, Barack Obama does not take money from lobbyists! Lorem ipsum dolor sit, the White House wins!

    Hey, you can complain all you want, but Obama never promised to not take money from people provide money for a politician's campaign in exchange for said politician entertaining the interests of a multinational corporation. He promised to not take money from "lobbyists." Unless you can show me a piece of paper, notarized by a member of the Senate lobbyist notarizing office or whatever, that says that Sally Susman is a lobbyist, then we really have nothing else to talk about.

    I'm certain that if someone would just explain all of that, just like I did right there, to all those Occupy Wall Street people, they'd stop protesting and go home. Why has nobody don't that yet?

    Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Lobbyists, Money