Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served time in jail after a corruption scandal, gave advice on how to reform Congress and K Street.
As for why public interest advocates sometimes have an edge over high-priced K Street talent, Abramoff said: “Most lobbyists are very lazy. They don’t want to spill their blood at the end of the day for their clients.” On the other hand, folks at advocacy organizations are passionately working their issues constantly. “Your opponents aren’t always awake, they’re sometimes drunk, in bed,” he said.
Super Bowl of Issue Ads
The Super Bowl isn’t the typical venue for issue ads, but the corporate-backed Center for Union Facts took to the airwaves in the Washington, D.C., market during Sunday’s big game. The $150,000 spot featured “union members” complaining: “I’m sick of the union taking so much of my money out of every paycheck” and grumbling that they never voted to join a union in the first place.
It’s part of the coalition’s larger $10 million effort in support of the Employee Rights Act.
“The reaction to the Super Bowl ad was great,” said Rick Berman, president of Berman and Co., which runs the campaign. “We’re rolling this thing out one state at a time.”
He declined to name the members of the coalition who funded the effort but narrowed it down to companies, foundations and individuals.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.