A footnote on yesterday’s long blog about, So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser. In his book, Kaiser points out that 283 former Clinton administration officials have become lobbyists, along with 310 Bush appointees. They do it, of course, for the money and to stay in D.C. For example, a member of Congress can go from making $162,500, and a staff person’s $95,000, to a salary of $300,000 or more on K Street almost overnight. As Dylon said long ago, “money doesn’t talk, it brags.”
President Obama on is first full day in office issued an executive order saying they can’t participate for two years in any matter they worked on in prior employment in the government. They can’t lobby Congress for two years upon leaving the administration, and they can’t lobby the Obama administration ever.
One reason that Obama is having such a difficult time filling positions on his staff is because the Obama transition team has the toughest questionnaire for job applicants ever promulgated. It has sixty-three questions and is called by Norman Ornstein “the equivalent of full body cavity searches.”
This is only the first step in cleaning up the mess, of course, but those old fat liberals like Cassidy have seen the writing on the wall. Cassidy is quoted in So Damn Much Money, “a day of reckoning is coming” against him and his kind and the way business is done in Washington. Cassidy goes onto say that when the crises are so severe and the system so inadequate to the task of addressing them “people will really come to understand that they are stakeholders.”
Exposing people like Cassidy is the first step, and Robert Kaiser has done a masterful job with his book, So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government.