Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 23, 2010

REPUBLICANS QUIETLY HUDDLE WITH BANK LOBBYISTS (AGAIN).... Senate Republicans recently struggled to explain the propriety of GOP leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) huddling with hedge fund managers and Wall Street elites, strategizing on how best to kill financial regulatory reform. But as bad as that looked, yesterday was arguably even uglier.

[Yesterday afternoon], President Obama traveled to New York to tell the nation's most influential bankers to call off their "battalions of financial industry lobbyists" and embrace a new regulatory structure meant to avert another economic crisis. But around the same time back in Washington, D.C., bank lobbyists hosted a fundraiser for Senate Republicans, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who has become the Republican liaison for Wall Street fundraising.

The invitation to the fundraiser, obtained by the Party Time blog of the Sunlight Foundation, shows that the it was hosted by lobbyists Wendy Grubb, Kirsten Chadwick, Scott Reed, and a variety of corporate PACs. Grubb is a top lobbyist for Citigroup, a bank that took taxpayer TARP funds and has yet to repay them. Chadwick, a former staffer to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), is a lobbyist for Zurich Financial Group, a financial services conglomerate.

The event was held at the headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and was ostensibly a fundraiser for Florida Sen. George LeMieux (R) -- who isn't seeking another term, and doesn't really need to be raising money.

After the Sunlight Foundation obtained and posted the invitation to the gathering, a few outlets sent folks to cover the event. But senators, lobbyists, and assorted elites were not in a chatty mood -- attendees refused to answer questions, and all but one of the senators decided to not even use the front door.

Evan McMorris-Santoro explained why they might have been embarrassed: "There's nothing new about politicians in Washington having closed-press meetings with lobbyists. There's not anything new about politicians fundraising at those meetings. But this event came at the exact moment Obama was taking on one of Washington's most powerful lobbies -- the financial industry -- on its home turf.... [W]hile Obama took on lobbyists, the GOP fed them."

It's not exactly surprising, but there is an impressive shameless quality to the whole thing.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

What fun. How many pies in the face does it take to get the main stream media to realize they are being played for such suckers? Probably many, many more...

Posted by: stevio on April 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

I notice that the slimy Burr of North Carolina was there!

Posted by: jJS on April 23, 2010 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

and stevio, speaking of the MSM . They are still playing the Republican lie nonstop as a he said she said. Boner, McConnell et al "Permanent Bailout" soundbites without mentioning , oh by the way that's a lie.
The big lie and why it works. Brought to you by your corporate masters.

Posted by: john R on April 23, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think the Republicans and their tea baggers peaked too soon.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 23, 2010 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

They're actually trying to hind the laundering of lobbyist slush-money behind LeMieux, of all people? Someone needs to call FEC, IRS, and FBI on this one. Or go one better, call this "financial terrorism," declare that an attack on the homeland seems imminent, and bring in the entirety of DHS.

We could rendition them all, y'know---Cornyn, McConnell, Goldman's lobbyists; the whole sordid bunch....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 23, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Burr is one of the most useless senators, attending a fundraiser with Wall Street lobbyists - remember when everything crashed - he called his wife to tell her to get as much money as she could from the banks - self serving to the last - he has a ton of money for his re-election this year, please help NC get him out!

Posted by: Joan on April 23, 2010 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

The more important story, according to the AP, is the SEC downloading so much porn from the internet that they had to burn it to CD roms, all while the economy tanked. The AP, Fox with a smile.

Posted by: John Henry on April 23, 2010 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

John Henry, that is depressing.

Posted by: chrenson on April 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think the Republicans and their tea baggers peaked too soon.

I've been wondering the same thing.

Posted by: shortstop on April 23, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Of course 0.000000000000000000000000099% of the public will hear about this.

While..... 85% will hear about the "controversy" surrounding Democrats ramming through a bill about bailouts.

The media does a fine job of snowing the people of this country.

Posted by: tempered optimism on April 23, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's not exactly surprising, but there is an impressive shameless quality to the whole thing.

By "the whole thing," do you mean the GOP in general, or just this one event?

Posted by: josef on April 23, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is simple. The fiance industry is for western governmental like the opium trade for Burma or Afghanistan

The argument in the back room is going to boil down to this:

"Yes they are parasitic and predatory rogues, yes the myth that they add system efficiency is sellable even to the most gullible, but they are a source of enormousness local and national revenue and we don't the business to go offshore."

Folks, we can and do tax Goldman for raping countries like Greece. Piracy is GOOD if you are the pirate's home port!

Posted by: David on April 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds a lot like the checny/exxon closed door secret meetings...

Posted by: kanosis on April 23, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

But this event came at the exact moment Obama was taking on one of Washington's most powerful lobbies -- the financial industry -- on its home turf.... [W]hile Obama took on lobbyists, the GOP fed them."

Let's see, Obama, in the spirit of transparency and cooperation, meets with banking shots under bright lights, on camera in full view of the American people.

The Republicans, in a tone deaf continuance of Bush/Cheney standard operating procedure, meet with banking bigshots behind closed doors after sneaking in around back to avoid bright lights, cameras, and the disapproving scrutiny of the American people.

Someone explain to me again why, the Republicans are going to win in 2010?

Posted by: Winkandanod on April 23, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of TARP, with all the reporting about how it wouldn't work, I haven't seen much reporting about how it is working and about how the money is being paid back. If possible, it would be nice if Steve would address that.

Posted by: Chris on April 23, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

The term shameless in connection with the Rethugs lost all meaning long ago, and I have yet to come up with a descriptive adjective that accurately characterizes their behavior. 'Ruthless sociopaths' is about as close as I can get. Totally devoid of any sense of right and wrong, these meglomaniacs really believe they are ordained by some higher entity to have power over the rest of us, and therefore the ends justify their means.

Obama is no Roosevelt. FDR took the banks head-on. He welcomed 'their enmity'. Perhaps he could do that in the 1930s, and get away with it. He was villified, called a traitor to his class, but his accomplishments provided reasonable financial stability until the 1980s when the Reaganauts started dismantling the safety nets and alarm systems. Risk averse Obama is still trying to be conciliatory with crooks and liars who will smile to his face, but have daggers at the ready. He's still naive. He too has to learn how to be ruthless, but I fear he never will.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any wonder that Americans distrust political leaders? Senators should tell the lobbyists to send them a memo.

Pres. Obama is doing just fine.

Posted by: hornblower on April 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

@rrk1 Obama is not only risk adverse he's bought and paid for by the crooks and liars.

Posted by: par4 on April 23, 2010 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Crooks and liars", sounds like a website.


I hope you are young. Sometimes you have to take what you can get. You learn that as you get older.
The Cold War ended, they got John Mitchell, Steinbrenner got suspended and Gene Michael rebuilt the Yankees and a black man was elected President. Amazing stuff happens in a lifetime.

Posted by: hornblower on April 23, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Why all the complaining. Let'em meet in private. Look who is getting the bigger piece of the lobby dollar pie anyway.
http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=F

And if you think that either party is IMMUNE to the effects of the lobbyist and the power they wield, think again! Be smart. Don't believe that either party is innocent and/or crooked because it plays to your partisan beliefs.

Posted by: FishMan1 on April 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

great post as usual!

Posted by: Mark Spizer on May 2, 2010 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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