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Friday, November 14, 2008

Obamacracy Update, Pt II: Night of the Living Lobbyists

Change is definitely coming to Washington. The big-deal lobbying firms in DC are getting rid of some of their Republican staffers ... and replacing them with Democrats. The Washington Post reports "Democrats Benefiting From Post-Election Lobby Boom":
Barack Obama spent much of his presidential campaign decrying the influence of Washington lobbyists. In the 10 days since he was elected, he already has had an impact: He has touched off a mini-boom on K Street.

Top lobbying firms are gearing up to handle increased demand from corporate clients who fear that the Obama administration will expand its regulatory reach and target them for tax increases. Some firms, such as Patton Boggs, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and Alston & Bird, are also preparing for new business resulting from the ongoing effort to stabilize the economy.

And who is cashing in on this boom? Democrats who supported Obama, such as Jaime R. Harrison.

Harrison helped mobilize voter turnout for Obama in South Carolina, and for the past two years he directed floor operations for House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) -- credentials that made him a sought-after addition to firms looking for an edge in a new administration.

"I built a lot of strong relationships with members, as well as their staff, and some of my very best friends worked on the campaign," Harrison said. He will start with the Podesta Group next week.
That would be Podesta as in John Podesta, Obama's transition chief. But hey, The Supremely Chill One himself is going to put his foot down and not let them influence his administration right? Hmmm, maybe not. The Post makes a great catch:
[A]lmost from the start of his campaign, Obama made clear that he would not be slamming the door on interactions with lobbyists. In a December 2007 speech in Iowa, he said he was "running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won't work in my White House." But the candidate quickly backed away from that second part. A few days later in Waterloo, Iowa, he changed the phrasing to say that lobbyists "are not going to dominate my White House."

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