May 30, 2006

The. System. Is. Broken.

WaPo's in-depth profile of political lobbyist extraordinaire Richard Cohen (of The Cohen Group) is a must-read. The real kicker, a house-buying scandal which couldland in court, is in the final page. But there is plenty of good stuff along the way.
In one form or another, it's a Washington paradigm. Military officers go to work for military contractors, and lawmakers join the lobbies that lobbied them. Though federal law contains some limits on lobbying by former officials, they are for the most part temporary, and there are few restrictions on giving advice.

Former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger created Kissinger Associates. Former defense secretary Frank C. Carlucci headed the Carlyle Group, a major investor in defense-related businesses. Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright's Albright Group says it helps clients broker agreements with governments.

And former national security adviser Samuel R. Berger's consulting and lobbying firm describes itself as "leveraging" its relationships with government leaders.
If Fascism is the blurring of business and government, this article charts a sorry tale of ex-government officials moving into the lobbying business.
"Their illustrious careers speak volumes about their integrity and ability to be impartial in all their decisions."


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