This week, the Seattle Times disclosed that Murray held a two-day staff retreat at heavyweight lobbying outfit Strategies 360, which was founded by Democratic political operative Ron Dotzauer. The group donated meeting space to Murray's team and skirted ethics rules by offering similar deals to nonprofits. Murray's former deputy state director, Karen Waters, is now a senior vice president at the firm. Another of its lobbyists, Melanie Mihara, used to work for Murray's Democratic colleague Sen. Maria Cantwell. According to OpenSecrets.org, Strategies 360 has conducted $985,000 worth of lobbying targeting more than a dozen government agencies this year.
A spokesman for the senator (who made her name attacking the Beltway insider culture) sniffed that the report was a "non-story." Given Murray's status as the second highest recipient of lobbying money among all members of Congress behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, her staff is right:
This little perk is chump change compared to her career haul.
Lobbying, of course, is perfectly legal. It's Murray's pretense as a white hat public-interest crusader that should gall both sides of the aisle. One left-wing Seattle blogger rather generously called Murray "tone-deaf" and spelled out the rank hypocrisy of Murray's entrenched and unrepentant lobbying ties: "This while members of her own party are up in arms over the increasing influence of money in American politics. This while a giant hunk of the liberal electorate is "Occupying" the streets to protest corporate greed and disproportional representation. This while the very term "lobbyist" has come to represent all that is bad about special interest influence."
Yep, all that and a bag of back-scratching chips.
Murray's backroom meetings come as business as usual as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi grandstands over the need for more "transparency" in the super committee dealings. After ramming through Obamacare in secret (with the help of top staffer Brendan Daly, who is now a lobbyist for groups opposed to the law he helped pass), Pelosi has now called for televised debt panel hearings. On publicly broadcasting the debt panel members' meetings with lobbyists, Pelosi will no doubt remain mum. Remember:
The "K" in "K Street" stands for "Kabuki."
Deutsch: "I’m Just Feeling a Mojo" from Obama "I’ve Never Felt Before"..."It Feels Good!" | Greg Hengler