Democrats Enlist Lobbyist to Help Sway Press on Aviation Bill

Posted: Feb 01, 2011 9:06 AM
I could have sworn that limiting the influence of lobbyists was part and parcel with Operation Hope & Change.  Oh, right:

"I am running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won't work in my White House."  - Candidate Barack Obama

Apparently, Senate Democrats missed that memo:

Senate Democrats tapped an airport lobbyist to help them make their case for the passage of a long-stalled aviation bill to reporters on a conference call Monday.

Charles “Chip” Barclay is listed as one of five lobbyists for the American Association of Airport Executives, which has spent nearly $7.4 million lobbying the federal government since 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’s website, which tracks lobbyist spending.

Barclay will join Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Maria Cantwell of Washington to discuss the need for Congress to pass a long-stalled Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which the Senate is expected to consider this week.

In fairness to Senate Democrats, the White House also missed its own memo  on this subject.  Barack Obama was never really serious about disrupting the scope and muscle of lobbyists.  He's demonstrated over and over and over and over again that he was really committed to a soundbyte, not a principle. 

There's nothing wrong with above-board lobbying.  It's part of the American political system, and can serve an important purpose.  It's more than a bit rich to see the party that demonizes the practice every election cycle exhibit such hypocrisy.  Next time you hear a Democrat in the Senate warn voters about Republicans' ties to the dark, unseemly world of DC lobbying, remind them of this little episode.  And when President Obama tries to recapture his campaign magic of 2008 by cranking up the lofty rhetoric, voters -- and maybe even a few reporters -- might ask him to reconcile his appealing promises with his actual record.  He was rarely inconvenienced with that burden last time around.