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.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, along with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, right, and Annette Tilleman-Dick, left, wife for former Rep. Tom Lanots, D-Calif. Clinton was honored with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony last week at the Cannon House Office Building. Previous winners include the Dalai Lama and Elie Wiesel.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.