Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) first act when taking over control of the House was to pass a bill that the Washington Post called “the broadest ethics and lobbying revision since the Watergate era.” Since then, it has become well documented that the government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that are at the core of the housing crisis, have built an expansive lobbying empire to thwart regulation and oversight. So one would hope that since liberals in Congress are rushing to bail Fannie and Freddie out of their financial mess, they would also be eager to curb the lobbying capabilities of these entities. No such luck.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is fighting to add an amendment to the Fannie and Freddie bailout bill that would forbid the GSEs from lobbying Congress. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wants no part of it. According to the Boston Globe, Reid says “any changes would delay getting the plan to President Bush because the House would have to approve it again.” Reid had no substantive response to DeMint’s calls for ending Fannie and Freddie lobbying. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Fannie and Freddie are continuing their lobbying efforts at both conventions unabated.
But the left is doing more than just ignoring the lobbying efforts of government sponsored and aided allies. They are also going to K Street and demanding that businesses play ball. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel reports:
As most of Washington met last week to fret over the economy, Harry Reid was attending a less-noticed summit. The Senate majority leader had summoned the titans of more than a dozen industry trade groups to a Capitol Hill meeting, where he delivered a crisp message: Get with our program, or get demolished.
Anyone remember the “K Street Project”? Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and conservative activist Grover Norquist designed it to pressure the business community into hiring GOP lobbyists, supporting GOP causes, and giving money to GOP candidates. The press was shocked, shocked, to discover such behavior, and ran endless coverage of this nefarious GOP operation. Democrats were shocked, shocked, too, and charged that the project was the root of Washington’s corruption: “If we’re ever going to have real change here, we must kill the K Street Project,” thundered Nancy Pelosi.