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IP: GOP compiling dossiers on lobbyists to "block access"
From: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 07:07:58 +0900


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22406-2002Jun9.html



washingtonpost.com 

GOP Monitoring Lobbyists' Politics
White House, Hill Access May Be Affected

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 10, 2002; Page A01


Republicans are researching the party affiliation and political
contributions of hundreds of lobbyists in Washington, part of a campaign
that could deny government access and prime lobbying jobs to Democrats,
according to people familiar with the project.

Copies of the bulky dossier, being compiled by conservative activist Grover
Norquist and other prominent Republican lobbyists, will be given to top
White House officials and GOP lawmakers when completed, the sources said.

Early drafts of the report are already in the hands of a few senior
administration officials and lawmakers, according to two people familiar
with it. GOP lawmakers are not helping compile the report, but many
privately support it.

The report -- dubbed the "K Street Project" -- has been evolving in fits and
starts over the past few years, but has been expedited and expanded now that
Republicans control the White House and federal agencies. Several Republican
lobbyists have complained that they aren't getting the access to federal
agencies they feel they deserve.

"What's different this time is you will have this list to control access" to
the White House, Congress and federal agencies, according to a GOP lobbyist
working on it. "That's been very clear from the discussions."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he was unaware of any
administration official with copies of the report. And even if officials had
them, he said, "the president's decisions are based on the merits and what's
in the best interest of the American people."

Republicans involved in the effort said they plan for it to be used by White
House officials, lawmakers and staff to determine who can meet with party
leaders in discussions of policy matters. The idea is to alert GOP officials
and staff members to Republicans who "deserve" such access and to Democrats
who don't, said one lobbyist involved. It will also give busy lawmakers and
officials an idea of whom they are dealing with, even if they don't choose
to keep Democratic lobbyists out of their office.

The document lists the lobbyists' name, where they work, which party they
belong to, where they have worked politically and how much money they have
contributed to both candidates and causes of both parties.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the National Republican
Congressional Committee, said he knew the report is being compiled and is
interested in seeing a copy when it is completed.

"I don't know if it will affect one piece of legislation," Davis said. But
contributions to the wrong party can "buy you enemies. People often don't
remember who gave them contributions. But they remember who gave to their
opponents." He predicted House committee chairmen will be interested in
getting a copy.

Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and is a frequent visitor
to the White House and GOP congressional offices. He said the report's chief
aim is to prod trade associations, lobbying firms and corporations to hire
more Republicans to represent them in Washington. Norquist lamented that
companies and associations may unknowingly retain too many Democrats "who
don't represent their interests" in a city now ruled primarily by
Republicans.

Democrats expressed outrage that Republicans were politically profiling at
best -- and blacklisting at worst -- the denizens of K Street, Washington's
main enclave for lobbyists.

"I am appalled that anybody would be that brazen," said Senate Majority
Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.).

He said his lobbyist friends have cautioned him that Republicans are
pressuring firms to purge Democrats. "If they put this in writing, that puts
a whole new dimension to this practice," Daschle said.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (Pa.) last month hosted
a private meeting in the Capitol, during which Norquist asked a group of
about two dozen lobbyists and staffers to help complete the project,
according to sources familiar with the meeting.

He handed out a thick list of lobbyists, some with their party affiliation
and past political jobs already identified. He asked the lobbyists to help
fill in the blanks, and told them his own staff would research the political
contributions.

Santorum did not return calls requesting comment.

"They clearly want to get this into the hands of White House officials,"
said a GOP lobbyist who attended the meeting. Norquist is an ally of Karl
Rove, Bush's top political adviser, and several other White House officials.
Rove said in an e-mail exchange he has "seen no such list."

"I have put it together and shared the material and [gotten] it out to
elected officials," Norquist said. But he refused to specify the recipients.

Some GOP lobbyists said they worry that the dossier -- compiled from public
disclosures of campaign contributions -- will not reflect money they helped
raise by hosting golf tournaments or similar events where many guests write
checks to a candidate.

Lobbyists attending the Santorum meeting included former representative Bill
Paxon (R-N.Y.) of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.; Gary Andres,
senior managing partner of the Dutko Group Inc.; and Tom Korologos,
President of Timmons and Co. Inc. Andres and Korologos declined to comment.
Paxon left a message but later could not be reached for comment.

Ever since they won control of the House in the 1994 elections, some key
Republicans such as Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) have advocated
aggressively tracking the political proclivities of lobbyists. They have
wanted to use the information primarily to remove Democrats from top
positions at trade associations and Washington-based offices of major
corporations.

Because Democrats controlled the House and Senate for so many years, most
government relations offices of corporations and trade associations were run
by Democrats. Many still are, much to the chagrin of DeLay and other
Republicans.

The House ethics committee formally admonished DeLay in 1998 for pressuring
the Electronics Industry Association not to hire former representative Dave
McCurdy (D-Okla.) to run the organization. DeLay wanted Paxon to get the
job.

Earlier this year, Santorum spread the word on K Street that GOP leaders
wanted more Republicans hired at trade associations. Shortly after, Santorum
and House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (Okla.) publicly chided
Boeing for hiring Rudy de Leon, a former aide to Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), to
run its Washington office.


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