After lobbyist-run SuperPACs and big money efforts dominated the last election, legislators are now appointing lobbyists to literally manage the day-to-day affairs of Congress. For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.
Editor's note: This story first appeared on Republic Report.
If you read enough news and watch enough cable television about the threat of the Islamic State, the radical Sunni Muslim militia group better known simply as ISIS, you will inevitably encounter a parade of retired generals demanding an increased US military presence in the region. They will say that our government should deploy, as retired General Anthony Zinni demanded, up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Or as in retired General Jack Keane’s case, they will make more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region.
‘Lifestyles of the Rich Environmentalists,’ produced by a group called the Institute for Energy Research, is a slick web video campaign designed to lampoon Leonardo Dicaprio and will.i.am as hypocrites for supporting action on climate change. The claim is that wealthy celebrities who oppose industrial-scale pollution supposedly shouldn’t fly in airplanes that use fossil fuels. The group, along with its subsidiary, the American Energy Alliance, churns out a steady stream of related content, from Facebook memes criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency, to commercials demanding approval of new oil projects like the Keystone XL, to a series of television campaign advertisements this year attacking Democratic candidates in West Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Alaska. On Capitol Hill, IER aggressively opposes any effort to repeal tax breaks afforded to the oil and gas industry.
In a move that smacks of censorship, Republic Report has discovered that a telecom industry-affiliated lobbying group successfully persuaded an African American news website to remove an article that reported critically on the groups advocating against Net Neutrality. The order to delete the article came from the website’s parent company, a business partner to Comcast.
This story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
This article originally appeared at The Nation, and is reprinted here with their permission. This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has railed against immigration reform all year, becoming one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation that passed the Senate in June. In arguing against the bill, Cruz charges regularly that proponents of reform are merely playing politics. “It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue,” he said.
This article was reported in collaboration with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, where Lee Fang is a reporting fellow. It is adapted from his new book, The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right, which is scheduled for publication on April 24 by the New Press.