In the Washington tradition of turnstile politics, disgraced former U.S. senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has re-emerged as a lobbyist for energy companies.
Recall that Craig was arrested in June 2007 at the Lindbergh terminal of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport by an undercover cop in a sting operation following complaints the men's room was being used for sexual liasions. Craig's foot-tapping on the shoe of the cop, sitting in the next stall, led to the senator's arrest. Craig initially pleaded guilty but later tried to get the case dropped, claiming a "wide stance" when using the toilet. Craig declined to seek re-election, and dropped his appeal after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against him last December.
Craig resurfaced earlier this week as head of New West Strategies LLC, cofounded with Michael Ware, his senate chief of staff for 10 years. The law requires a two-year wait after leaving office before directly lobbying elected officials. But Craig and Ware can arrange what clients really want - access to powerful committee chairs and senior agency staff.
Craig's sterling credentials, extolled on his new website (http://www.newweststrategiesllc.com/), include his service on "several key committees" (aging, public lands, veterans affairs), which in fact are among the lowest-ranking committees on the Hill. Which is why most Americans had never heard of Larry Craig until he became a national punchline.
Closer to the truth is Craig's self-description as "a forceful advocate for conservative, common-sense solutions...[with] a reputation as a stalwart against environmental extremism." That is, Craig voted against measures to curb global heating, impose less environmentally harmful grazing practices, and other "extreme" environmental reforms.
Wrong on the environment, wrong on supporting the Bush agenda, wrong on appropriate venues to solicit adulterous relations. And thus qualified to join the ranks of K Street lobbyists advancing the interests of Big Business ahead of the public's.
The image at right is the proposed new international sign for bathroom-stall toe-tappers lobbying on behalf of oil and other energy corporations, as suggested by Seattle's Grist Magazine.
Quote of the day
"Question: Why are there more flies in Cairo than lobbyists in Washington? Answer: Cairo got first choice." -Norman Augustine, CEO of defense contractor Martin Marietta, in Augustine's Laws.
For the purposes of this blog, the inception of the Great Recession in the U.S., the epicentre of the crisis, is taken as the start date for the global slump. The U.S. has been in recession since December 2007.