Tea Party Lawmakers Heart K Street

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Well, that didn’t take long.

The Washington Post‘s Dan Eggen reports that a number of Republicans, including tea party-backed senators-elect Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have hired former lobbyists as their chiefs of staff. Lee has hired former energy lobbyist Spencer Stokes, while Rand Paul has tapped anti-union lobbyist Douglass Stafford on board. In the House, Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) has brought on food industry lobbyist John Billings as his chief of staff.

From the Post:

Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager, said that Stafford “is not a lobbyist in the sense that people think,” because he worked for a conservative advocacy group, the National Right to Work Committee. His stint included guiding the group’s campaign against “card check” legislation favored by unions, Benton said.

“Senator Paul wants principled people on his staff that actually care about the ideas that he’s going to fight for in the U.S. Senate, and that’s what Doug has done,” Benton said.

“Principled” isn’t generally the first word voters associate with K Street. And delving into “sense of the word” semantics isn’t going to fly with tea partiers who expect Paul and others swept into to power by the movement to help clean up Washington.

But this isn’t just a tea party problem. Hal “Bring Home the Bacon” Rogers (R-Ky.), the incoming chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a notorious earmarker, is considering hiring Bill Inglee, a Lockheed Martin VP and lobbyist, as staff director for the committee. Maybe the Tea Party will give Paul and Lee a free pass this time and assume they’re just following the example set by the old dogs like Rogers.

As Eggen points out, “these cases illustrate the endurance of Washington’s traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric.” Looks like it’s back to business as usual.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate