Thursday, June 26, 2003

Targeting Lobbyists Pays Off For GOP - Party Earns More Funds, Influence

By Jim VandeHei and Juliet Eilperin - Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 26, 2003; Page A01

Nearly a decade after Republicans launched a campaign to oust Democrats from top lobbying jobs in Washington, sometimes through intimidation and private threats, they are seizing a significant number of the most influential positions at trade associations and corporate government affairs offices -- and reaping big financial rewards.

Partly because of the "K Street Project" -- and partly because of GOP control of Congress and the presidency -- virtually every major company or trade association looking for new top-level representation is hiring or seeking to hire a prominent Republican politician or staffer, according to Republicans and Democrats tracking the situation.

This year, General Electric, Comcast, Citigroup and many other Fortune 500 companies have hired Bush administration officials and former GOP congressional advisers for top lobbying posts. A Republican National Committee official recently told a group of GOP lobbyists that 33 of 36 top-level Washington positions he is monitoring went to Republicans, according to someone who attended the meeting.

The trend could deeply influence Washington politics, policy and fundraising for years. Already in control of the White House and Congress, Republicans are tightening their grip on the largely unseen but vital world of big-time lobbying. Lobbyists for major trade groups not only represent clients' interests but also play key roles in political fundraising and often help shape legislation.
The K Street project -- named for the Washington corridor thick with lobbying firms -- also is planting a new crop of Republican lobbyists rich enough to give back to the party in the years ahead.

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If this kind of strategy was mine, I'd also have a strategy to infiltrate the enemy camp and render their offensive and defensive capabilities ineffective. This is why I feel the Democratic party has been taken over and rendered mute.



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