The 9 Most Loathsome Lobbyists in Washington
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Its persistent efforts paid off in the form of the FAA Reauthorization Act, which flew through Congress on bipartisan wings in February and promises to unleash an estimated 30,000 spy drones into U.S. airspace in the next eight years so that local and federal law enforcement can track suspects (because the Fourth Amendment is SO out right now).
In a PowerPoint presentation dug up by Republic Report , the drone lobbying group bragged that in requesting language changes to the FAA House bill, its “suggestions were often taken word-for-word.” In the same presentation, the group predicted that the domestic unmanned drone market will soon outpace the military, despite exponential growth in that murderous sector. It also acknowledged that the industry’s main impediment to unbridled profit will be “civil liberties.” Stupid freedoms, always hurting our unmanned job creators.
3) John Lovell
A prohibition-industrial-complex luminary, Lovell is a major reason Californians can’t legally smoke jazz-tobacco (as goes California, so goes the criminally stoned nation). In a 2010 interview with Time, he claimed his crusade against the state’s Proposition 19 (a.k.a. the Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act) was based on moral grounds, but his firm’s nearly $400K draw from various police unions offers a far more believable motivation.
Lovell managed the anti-pot effort, launching a Reefer Madness-esque propaganda campaign, organizing hippieless rallies, and disseminating Glenn Beck-crazy conspiracy theories about George Soros because the philanthropist donated $1 million to the legalization effort.
As Prop. 19 ultimately suffered a slim defeat at the ballot, a business necessity for Lovell, he was concurrently acting as the war on drugs’ Matthew Lesko by teaching local law enforcement how to score big federal grant and stimulus money— today!
He successfully represented two police unions in a bid to funnel $10 million in taxpayer cash to two draconian programs resulting in a flurry of new police hires, overtime, expensive surveillance toys, and an unjustifiable amount of victimless prosecutions.
Lovell is waging a war in which hundreds of thousands of Americans lose, so that the nation’s fat blue line can buy that sweet boat they think will get them laid.
2) Edward Yingling
There’s a plethora of dodgy financial tools used by Wall Street to fleece the American public, but Yingling may be the biggest. He’s been the American Bankers Association’s top lobby-dog for more than twenty years.
There’s not been a poverty-creating financial deregulation to wend its way through the ever-complicit Congress in the past quarter-century that hasn’t been covered in Yingling’s dirty fingerprints. In 1999, he unashamedly called the Glass-Steagall repeal (the Depression-era law that separated investment and commercial banks) “the most important piece of financial services legislation in over sixty years,” which could “save consumers $15 billion a year.” Legalizing insane gambles, like collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities, was important to his too-big-to-fail clients (like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase), which, along with the rest of the banking industry, spend roughly $100 million a year lobbying.
Naturally, when the TARP hit the fan, the Bankers Association was pushing for the bailout as fiercely as anyone. When Dodd-Frank was being severely watered down, Yingling was there with a very large bucket.
And Obama’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Well, it threatens to sever the connection between “consumer protection and safety and soundness,” Yingling told Congress.
He doesn’t earn more than $2 million a year to make sense.
1) Jack N. Gerard
As president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, Gerard spews nearly as much pollution as the 400 fossil fuel-extracting companies he represents. The group spent almost $8 million of its $200 million budget in 2010 (Gerard banked $6.5 million in the same year) actively lobbying against any and all environmental regulations. The rest goes to slick front groups, disinformation campaigns, contributing to evil pols (future lobbyists) and eviler groups (like Americans for Prosperity and ALEC), and funding bunk science to undercut public understanding of climate change. Taking their cues from an earlier generation of tobacco industry doubt merchants, a still-relevant 1998 Petroleum Institute internal memo reads: “Victory will be achieved when . . . citizens ‘understand’ uncertainties in climate science . . . [and] recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’ ”