Mark Levin the radio Mouth could be heard inveighing against what is surely a sickening specter: “Healthcare lobbying on K Street.” As The Hill divulged:
More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.
Major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump can all boast an Affordable Care Act insider on their lobbying roster — putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients.
“When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the signing of the healthcare law] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f’n deal,’ ” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, “he was right.”
Veterans of the healthcare push are now lobbying for corporate giants such as Delta Air Lines, UPS, BP America and Coca-Cola, and for healthcare companies including GlaxoSmithKline, UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
This, no doubt, is ANC-style corruption; the stuff of banana republics, carried out with considerable aplomb and within the bounds of what is considered The Law.
You won’t hear conservatives like Mark Levin protesting or even mentioning the tentacles of The Thing that enervates every corner of the American government, economy, foreign policy, you name them: the military-industrial-Congressional complex, where corruption and “influence peddling” are the order of the day.
… SPINNEY: Right. Let’s say I’m the program manager for the F-16 in the Pentagon. I get a call from one of my wholly owned subsidiaries over on the Hill on the armed services committee. “We got it funded for you guys, but those guys in the House are gonna screw us.” So you know, “You got to do something.”
So all I have to do is I call up the program manager at the prime contractor, who I know because I work with him on a daily basis. And say, “Hey, we got a problem.
“The House is gonna kill our program. The Senate’s on board. Turn on the pressure.” Well, at that point, I don’t have to do anything in the government. The rest of it takes care of itself because the people whose future it…are at hand are gonna work overtime to solve that.
The contractors then start calling up the subcontractors. They unleash the fax attacks. They unleash the emails. And then of course they start calling the lobbyists, the Gucci shoe crowd on K Street, and say, “Hey, you got to start beating the… beating the pavement in the halls of Congress. We need some newspaper op-eds.” The whole process takes care of itself. One phone call turns it on.
MOYERS: Who gets the money?
SPINNEY: The contractors get it. The Congressmen get it, you know through… they get the power because they keep getting voted back in office. They may also get some Congressional contributions. But I think the bigger benefit is the power, the stability of their job.
And remember the people in the Pentagon that are promoting this thing are basically… they’re also creating a situation where they can roll over and get into that sector and make the big bucks. All you have to do is look at the number of retired generals working for defense contractors.
MOYERS: The revolving door?
SPINNEY: Yeah, yeah. The revolving door.
… Over in the Pentagon, we’re not holding people accountable.
I think basically here is you have in Congress the oversight committees for defense, which are essentially the armed services committee. And the defense appropriations subcommittees in both houses are so tied in to the Pentagon and the defense contractor base that essentially oversight has been displaced by what some of us call overlook. They’re basically watching the money flow out the door and encouraging it to go.
And basically it’s in members of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s best interest to keep the money flowing. It’s in the Pentagon’s best interest to keep the money flowing.
SPINNEY: It’s in the defense contractors’ best interest to keep the money flowing. Because it’s the military industrial Congressional complex and this is their way of life. They live on the money flow.
MOYERS: The military industrial Congressional complex?
SPINNEY: Right. Which I believe was a term that Eisenhower considered using in his speech, but he dropped the reference to Congress.