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Lobbyists and Lobbying Firm Partner Chosen to Lead Anti-Lobbyist Unity08

Here is why every American should be concerned about lobbying and corruption:

* Most incumbent campaign money comes from D.C. lobbyists, not the incumbent’s congressional-district constituents. Therefore the lobbyists get access to the member of Congress, not the constituents.
* The number of lobbyists in Washington has doubled in just six years.
* The number of appropriations “earmarked” as special favors has gone from 150 a year under President Reagan to 6300 last year under President Bush.
* Those earmarked favors are generally paybacks to the lobbyists.
* Members pressure lobbyists to hire former staffers who turn around and lobby for favors in return.
* The spouses and children of Members are hired by lobbying firms.
* Members retire to high-paying lobbying jobs.

I didn’t write that. Unity08 wrote it. Unity08 also writes this about lobbying and lobbyists:

“…the Unity08 President and Vice President will enter office not with favors owed to lobbyists and special interests but with a clear mandate from the American people…” (link)

“Unlike the other parties we don’t have lobbyists bankrolling our work.” (link)

“Generosity fills the air around the Capitol and K Street (where most lobbyists have their offices). In honor of the season of giving, Unity08 has put together the top 10 recipients of lobbyist cash* in 2006.” (link)

“Despite the elections, lobbyist corruption and bitter partisanship remain the reality in Washington – proof positive that the system is broken…. Through Unity08, for the first time we are going to throw out the backroom deals…. You’ll vote. You’ll decide. Not the consultants and spin doctors. Not the special interests. Not the lobbyists.” (link)

“Americans are sick and tired of power in Washington built on lobbyist money and special interests, and of candidates paying lip service to the problem without actually doing something about it.

“Unity08 makes cleaning up the influence of lobbyist and special-interest money a defining element of its effort to win the White House in 2008…. We believe the influence of fat-cat lobbyists has gotten so bad that if Unity08 is going to transform politics, we need to start at the top – in the White House. But that means if any president is going to try to talk the talk of cleaning up the lobbyist culture in Washington, he or she had better have walked the walk in the campaign…. It is essential that Washington curtail the culture of lobbying excesses, endless Congressional fundraising on K Street, earmarks for lobbyist projects, and special favors for special friends…” (link)

“Most politicians pay lip service to the dangers of special interest lobbyist money in Washington, but few do anything about it –except take the money.” (link)

You get the point. According to Unity08′s public communications, Lobbyists are a bad influence on politics, and need to be removed from their positions of political influence. This isn’t me saying lobbyists are bad, mind you. This is Unity08 saying it. Unity08 has been bashing lobbyists left and right, and swearing up and down that if you let Unity08 into power they won’t let lobbyists run the show. So surely Unity08 wouldn’t let lobbyists and leaders of lobbying firms into leadership positions within Unity08, would they?

Would they?

A couple of days ago, I was inspired by a comment left by Tom:

Further, isn’t it ironic that U08 bashes K Street, yet U08’s very own Board of Directors member Carolyn Tieger’s address, according to the U08 lawsuit, is on K Street?

Really? I hadn’t noticed that. So I decided to look further, and here is what I found:

Unity08′s Rules Committee, which will determine the rules by which candidates for president and vice president of the United States of America are chosen, contains lobbyists and leaders of lobbying firms.

1. Carolyn Tieger, corporate leader of lobbying firm. Tieger, who is a member of the board of directors of Unity 08 and a co-chair of the Unity08 Rules Committee that will decide the rules for choosing a U.S. presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate, listed her address as follows in the lawsuit Unity08 filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC):

Carolyn Tieger
1909 K Street
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006

That is the business address of Porter Novelli, where Carolyn Tieger works as partner and director of public affairs. A Porter Novelli press release details her achievements in influencing government policy on behalf of her corporate paymasters:

She is also lead communications counsel for the Asbestos Alliance and the American Beverage Association.
“Carolyn’s leadership has helped fuel the growth of Porter Novelli’s business and our reputation as a top public affairs player in Washington, DC,” said Helen Ostrowski, chief executive officer, Porter Novelli. “Clients trust Carolyn because she takes on the toughest issues and wins.”
“She is a hands-on strategist of rare talent with a tolerance for nothing less than top quality from herself and her team,” added Michael Kehs, executive vice president, Porter Novelli Public Affairs. “To know her is to learn.”
Tieger’s expertise has been forged through work in the most challenging communications environments – on Capitol Hill, in the Department of Commerce and at the White House, and in more than 20 years with leading public relations agencies. In 1994, she opened the Washington office of Goddard Claussen and became a partner in the firm. There, she contributed to the unprecedented success of its “Harry and Louise” campaign and managed the communications campaign that resulted in permanent trade relations between the United States and China. The operation she started grew to include 20 professionals working for top clients across the city and the country, including the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Chlorine Chemistry Council.

Did I mention that Porter Novelli is registered as an official lobbying organization before the United States Congress? Well, it is. Look it up yourself in the Senate’s disclosure database. Porter Novelli lobbies for the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.

Carolyn Tieger: Manages Political Relations for Asbestos, Alcohol, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and the Chlorine Chemistry Council. Public Affairs Leader in a Lobbying Firm. Co-Chair of Unity08 Rules Committee.

2. Thomas Collier, registered lobbyist. Thomas Collier is, along with Carolyn Tieger, co-chair of the Unity08 Rules Committee that decides the rules for the nomination of candidates to be the next president and vice president of the United States of America. Thomas Collier is also Unity08′s primary legal counsel.

Thomas C. Collier works in the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. He also has worked as as lobbyist, officially registered with the U.S. Congress, for various groups since 1999. Don’t believe it? Check the U.S. Senate Lobbyist Database.

Thomas C. Collier. Registered Lobbyist, Co-Chair of Unity08 Rules Committee.

P.S. Other Steptoe and Johnson lawyers working with Thomas C. Collier for Unity08 in the organization’s lawsuit against the FEC to evade its contribution and disclosure regulations — Robert Jordan, Anthony Onorato, and John J. Duffy — are also registered lobbyists.

3. Sayuri Yamada Matthews, aka Sayuri Yamada, state lobbyist. Sayuri Yamada Matthews is a member of the Unity08 Rules Committee, which will set the rules by which Unity08 selects a presidential and a vice presidential candidate to lead the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America.

Until late last year, Sayuri Yamada Matthews (or Sayuri Yamada, as she is known to New Mexico reporters), served as a lobbyist for the Association of Commerce and Industry, which worked to keep New Mexico’s minimum wage at the federal minimum of $5.15. Then, when that became politically unrealistic, Yamada engaged in her work as a lobbyist to push New Mexico’s state government in favor of a bill that would keep the New Mexico minimum wage from being indexed to the rate of inflation:

As Yamada sees it, her job consists not only of helping legislation get passed that helps business but also of making sure “bad bills” don’t make it to the governor’s desk.

At the top of her list this session is stopping — or at least slowing down — an increase in the state’s minimum wage from the congressionally mandated level of $5.15 an hour to $7.50 an hour.

A bill proposed by Rep. Ben Luján, D- Santa Fe, would raise the minimum wage statewide to that $7.50 level on Jan. 1, 2007. “We can’t support that,” Yamada said. “It’s too huge of a cost in such a short period of time.”

After being picked for the Unity08 Rules Committee, Yamada / Yamada Matthews stepped down from her role as a pro-business lobbyist. Sounds good, until you learn that she stepped down as chief lobbyist for the Association of Commerce and Industry to become a lobbyist for PNM Resources, a natural gas and electric utility company.

Sayuri Yamada / Sayuri Yamada Matthews. Business Lobbyist, Member of Unity08 Rules Committee.

4. Tieger and Collier claim in a lawsuit to be bankrolling Unity08.

Remember that quote from the Unity08 front page? “Unlike the other parties we don’t have lobbyists bankrolling our work.” Well, Carolyn Tieger and Thomas C. Collier are named plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the FEC. In that lawsuit, it is written:

The individual Plaintiffs to this suit are contributors to Unity08 and would all have contributed substantially more than $5,000 except for the threat of prosecution by the FEC that could result in civil or criminal penalties.

In short, Tieger (who is a leader of a lobbying firm) and Collier (a registered lobbyist) claim that they are “bankrolling” Unity08 indeed, and that they would like to contribute “substantially more.”

These are just the people in Unity08 leaderhip positions who I know of being lobbyists or leaders in lobbying firms. There may or may not be more. So I have two new questions for Unity08 tonight:

Carolyn Tieger is co-chair of the Unity08 Rules Committee. Thomas C. Collier is the other co-chair of the Unity08 Rules Committee. Sayuri Yamada Matthews is a member of the Unity08 Rules Committee. Tieger is a leader of Porter Novelli, a registered lobbying firm. Collier and Yamada Matthews are registered lobbyists. Are there other members of the Unity08 leadership, or employees of Unity08, who are now or have been leaders of registered lobbying firms or registered lobbyists? If so, who are they?

Carolyn Tieger is a leader of a registered lobbying firm. Thomas C. Collier is a registered lobbyist. In the lawsuit against the FEC, Tieger and Collier claim as plaintiffs that they have contributed money to Unity08 and would like to contribute “substantially more.” How does this square with the claim on Unity08′s home page that “Unlike the other parties we don’t have lobbyists bankrolling our work”?


Important, lawsuit-avoiding caveat: Look, I’m just a self-employed guy with student loans and two kids. These are people who have a lot more money and resources at their disposal than I have. So I don’t want to get my pants sued off. I also don’t want to be unfair.

For that reason, I want to make it absolutely clear that this is not meant to be a personal attack against Carolyn Tieger, Thomas C. Collier, the lawyer/lobbyists who work with Thomas C. Collier, or Sayuri Yamada Matthews. I don’t know them, and I’ve never spoken in person with them. They may be perfectly nice people. My point in writing this is not to put down lobbying as a profession per se, or to put these people down.

My point in writing this is simple: to show that while Unity08 is trying to score political points by putting on a big show of being anti-lobbying and anti-lobbyist, they’ve put lobbyists and leaders of lobbying firms in key leadership positions within their own organization. These are, to nab a term from George W. Bush, “the Deciders.” Unity08 needs to explain their choices in order to preserve whatever public trust they may have left. If Unity08 chooses not to explain their choices, they should not be surprised to find that the public does not take them seriously.

30 comments to Lobbyists and Lobbying Firm Partner Chosen to Lead Anti-Lobbyist Unity08

  • Diana

    please explain this for me in laymen’s terms? I’m trying to make sense of all of this

  • Jim

    Unity08 says it hates lobbying and wants to get rid of lobbyists.

    Unity08 has lobbyists (and people leading lobbying organizations) within its leadership.

    One does not match the other.

  • Diana

    I know this may sound very dumb but what exactly is a lobbyist and what do they do?

  • Fruktata

    Lobbyists are hired by corporations and interest groups to wield influence within government. Some lobbyists do this through corrupt means, and some don’t. Guess which ones are more influential.

  • Jim

    Diana, try reading up on Jack Abramoff, and his contact with Bob Ney and other members of Congress. There were bribes in them thar hills. Also check out the tale of Duke Cunningham.

    Lobbyists register with state and national governments — they are paid by non-profit and for-profit corporations to meet with members of state legislatures, the Congress, the White House, governors and so on, with the goal of trying to persuade these politicians to support policies favorable to those corporations. Sometimes lobbyists even help to write the laws that govern you.

    Lobbyists can persuade just via charming conversation, which is legal (although it raises the ethical question of special access to members of Congress, full-time, while the rest of us can’t engage in full-time access to Congress). Or they can persuade through other, illegal, means, which is a downright shame.

  • Ralph

    Jim, I’ve got to say I started watching your investigation of Unity ’08 with some amusement.

    They are, it seemed to me, the Bad News Bears of politics. They screw something up, you ask them about it, they screw up the response, that leads to more questions, and on you go. I thought it was Buster Keatonesque, and very very funny.

    I also thought all the glowing kiss ass stuff in the press was funny–not a single reporter at the New York Times or the Washington Post knew how to do a simple database search, come up with the information you’ve so painstakingly laid out, and follow up from there.

    With this new revelation, I’m starting to see things a little differently. I just don’t think EVERY reporter for the mainstream media is too dumb to do a simple search. It’s too hard to swallow that NOBODY in the mainstream had the brains to figure out that the founders of Unity ’08 had offices on K Street.

    I’m starting to suspect the mainstream media knows damn well exactly who these guys are, and that they’re afraid of them.

    I’m much more furious at the mainstream media than I am at the lobbyists running Unity ’08. There’s a story about a woman who found a rattlesnake lying near death in the snow. She took the snake home and nursed it back to health. Then the snake bit her. As she lay dying, she asked it why. “Bitch,” it said, “you knew I was a snake.” Office on K Street? I’ve got your number, you’re a snake, you’ll say anything.

    But the press is supposed to have SOME stake in standing up for the public interest. Time and again, people in positions of power lie to the public through the media. Time and again, the media says, “Shucks, we were too stupid to notice!”

    You’ve given Unity ’08 enough chances to come clean on their own. They’re not going to. For months now, they’ve been stalling, bullshitting, and telling you to shut up. Do you really need to be a semiotic genius to decode Dough Bailey’s response to you that “questions of financial transparency are taking up entirely too much real estate here.” Anya Harris asking “Why don’t you devote that energy to growing the movement?”

    These guys know the political cycle goes in hours, not months. If you challenge someone politically, and there’s no response within 72 hours, it either means they’re not taking you seriously, or they’re purposefully ignoring you.

    In my opinion, it’s time to start contacting the genuine alternative media–if such still exists. (ideally someone who loves to bust the Washington Post, New York Times, etc. for dropping the ball).

    These

  • Tom

    Jim, I’m sure that you are on top of the update that Unity08 said they will make today. Their donors page states:

    On January 31, we will make our regularly scheduled filing to the IRS for the fourth quarter of 2006. On that day we will again update this list, bringing it current through December 31, 2006.

    It looks like they still have a few hours, but one would think they would have updated it this morning. I look forward to your response to their failure to meet another deadline, or an examination at the new donor list.

  • Jim

    Tom,

    Yep, I’ve been checking. Either way we go, I think we’ll have something interesting to work with.

    And STILL, on January 31, 2007, we have no factually correct public reports of both contributions and expenditures by Unity08. Certainly not for the 4th quarter. But also not for the 3rd quarter, and not even for the 2nd quarter.

    Ralph,

    I think your idea is a good one. But I want to give them the lobbyists and public relations professionals at Unity08 a little more of an opportunity to either answer the lingering questions posed to them, or to demonstrate that they have absolutely, positively no inclination to answer them. The upcoming releases of data — or non-releases of data — will be the penultimate step to what you describe, I think, unless Unity08 has a conversion on the road to irrelevancy and decides to be honest and forthcoming with the public. (What do you think the odds of that are?)

  • Ralph

    TALKING about honesty apparently does well in market research, but BEING honest?

    Lobbyists and public relations professionals?

    You have been incredibly generous to these guys. Who in politics finds out someone is lying, asks them directly about it, and waits months for a response?

    How much misleading information have they put out to the public?

    How many times have they told you, in so many words, to shut up?

    These arrogant, arrogant K Streeters think they can do whatever they want and get away with it?

    If these guys are allowed to slink off quietly with no scrutiny, they’ll just come back again under a different name, and suck the oxygen out of genuine grass roots politics all over again.

    Please don’t wait much longer to go to the press about this.

  • Tom

    Jim –
    I know you will be disecting the 4th Quarter Report later, but I just wanted to point a few things out.

    It seems that someone whose name is “Withheld” and whose address is identical to the listed as the official address for U08, donated $23,545. What about the $5,000 limit?

    I’m sure you will also look into the number of donors with connections to Founder Council members (it looks like some family members are contributing the max of $5,000).

    Also, it is amazing how much domain registration cost U08. Just estimating, it appears as if over $1,500 was spent on Name Registration. Yahoo charges just under $10 per year for domain name registration.

    Further, didn’t the Atlantic article say that U08 received an initial loan of one million dollars? I don’t see that accounted for…

    I don’t want to steal your thunder – I know you’ll also document your statements much better and examine this in more detail. I couldn’t contain my quick initial reactions…I’m looking forwarad to your next U08 post.

  • Tom

    I’m sorry – well over $5,000 was spent on Name Registration. My previous comment incorrectly states that $1,500 was spent on Name Registration.

  • Tom

    I apologize for the repeated posts – but 8 other donors reportedly have the same address as Unity08 (their donations add up to $45,000).

  • Jim

    Tom, don’t worry about “stealing my thunder” — if we want to mix metaphors, there’s plenty of meat at this table for everybody. Go whole hog for it, Tom. If you’ve got a blog, post your own great grist there. I just started out with an inconsistent claim about nobody from top to bottom being paid for working on the Unity Petition. Hogwash! I’ll work up from there.

    I think Name Registration may, may refer to incorporation services, since CSC is short for Corporation Service Company. Costs for that would be higher.

  • Jim

    This P.O. Box 12545 in Arlington, Virginia is really, really interesting, Tom. It is the address of a number of contributors, and also of a number of recipients of payments. Very odd. My suspicion? This is a typo because they rushed their work. Which makes them just a great selection for an organization to run a national election.

  • Troy

    So let me get this straight. You want me to tolerate your beliefs but you don’t want to tolerate mine?

  • Troy

    Diane,
    Check out representative Jefferson from I believe Lousiana or Mississippi. They found $90,000 of bribe money in his freezer and he is still in office.

  • Jim

    Troy, I think you mistake the word “agree” for the word “tolerate.” I perfectly tolerate your beliefs — which means I support your right to have them. I do not have to agree with them. Someone who insists that everybody agree with them is someone who is not secure in his or her beliefs.

  • Phil

    Well Jim as usual, you have twisted someone’s words to make it sound like you know something more than you do. Troy never insisted that you “agree” with him jimmy-bob. He never even used the word agree in his statement. I guess you must not be to secure in your beliefs huh?

  • Ralph

    No, Phil. Jim’s point was not that Troy had used the word “agree.” His point was that he had used the word “tolerate” when he really meant “agree.” Nice try.

  • Phil

    Ralphie did you learn that double-speak from billiary? What is the meaning of is? Don’t you agree ralphie?

  • Ralph

    Nope.

    Learned it from the guy who said:

    “Heck of a job, Brownie”
    “Bring ‘em on”
    “Mission accomplished”
    “Weapons of destruction-related program activities”
    “Aluminum tubes”
    “Yellowcake”
    “Mobile weapons labs”
    “Iraq will be a model for the rest of the Middle East”
    “Stay the course”
    “I never said ‘stay the course’”
    “We’re turning the corner”
    “When the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down”

    But seriously, you’re the one who came around criticizing one person’s supposed misuse of one word.

    I get it: Start an argument about semantics. Then as soon as someone disagrees with you, say, “You’re twisting words around, it’s all semantics!”

    Of course it’s semantics, and it has been since you focused on what you erroneously assumed to be the misuse of a single word.

    Now I suppose we get to hear something like, “You talk like you’re so smart, but you’re really dumb!”

    Well, we couldn’t say the same about you, could we? You don’t talk as if you’re very smart at all.

  • Iroquois Honky

    No, no, no, Phil. Didn’t Jim just remind you about capitalizing names? And when you address someone by name, use a comma to separate the name from the rest of the sentence.

    Incorrect: Don’t you agree ralphie.
    Correct: Don’t you agree, Ralphie.

    Do try to remember to capitalize correctly without forgetting how to use the apostrophe in the meantime. It does so hurt the perceived intelligence of your argument when you can’t express yourself at a tenth-grade level of grammar.

  • Ralph

    I think Phil is trying to appear smarter than us, and criticize us for trying to appear smart at the same time.

    It’s the same old pseudo-populist ruse people like Rush Limbaugh mastered years ago: Try to seize the anti-intellectual high ground and the appearance of rationality at the same time. Then use those positions to attack anyone who has a nuanced view of anything or uses multi-syllabic words.

    Been done. And is it just me, or is this simplistic pseudo-rational anti-intellectualism just not all that appealing any more?

    This isn’t the year 2000, and this election isn’t going to be about who you’d like to have a beer with.

  • anon

    …text messages are not grammatically correct!

  • Iroquois Honky

    Interesting, Ralph. It never occurred to me Phil might trying to use some sort of gimmick. I thought he was just someone without any education or social skills who somehow managed to get access to a computer–that his abrasive style was just a reflection of the type of insecure personality drawn to the extreme right wing.

    I don’t see Rush Limbaugh as a political force. He does what he does for money. If he was doing straight political commentary, he wouldn’t make any money. Same with Coulter. She started out with a reasoned approach, but had to switch to hate speech because it sells. At this point neither is trying to sell a political philosophy, they are selling themselves. They are pure entertainers, in the same mold as Joe Pine was years ago, with the same missing-tooth type of audience as Jerry Springer.

  • Phil

    Iroq you ignorant dyke, what makes you think I’m a right winger? Hmmmm?

  • Ralph

    Limbaugh and Coulter use the same kind of gimmick. They simultaneously argue that someone is wrong, stupid, AND an over-intellectual egghead.

    It works like this:

    1. Limbaugh or Coulter picks up on a statement that he/she or she/he wants to refute. He/she makes fun of it, says it’s wrong, and says whoever said it was stupid.

    2. If someone points out that that statement is in fact correct, he/she then switches to the anti-intellectual mode. “Ooh, bet you went to some fancy college to learn all that bullshit.”

    Now, what argument can’t you win if your opponent loses by being EITHER stupid OR smart? And to whom is this convincing? Perhaps to stupid people who disguise their own sense of intellectual inferiority with arguments that those fancy words and commas and stuff that smart people use don’t really mean anything anyway?

  • Iroquois Honky

    Oh, but it goes beyond the you’re-ignorant/where-did-you-learn-that dichotomy.

    The rhetoric focuses on tribes instead of issues. The world gets divided up into artificial tribes with meaningless labels–dyke, socialist, etc. and the befuddled Snaggletooth is invited to find his tribe. So he is bamboozled into choosing the non-gay, non-female, non-minority group as His People. Surely even though they are making literally billions in windfall oil profits, they are just like him and are going to look out for his interests. NOT. He is going to be shelling out the taxes to pay for their wars and his children will be the cannon fodder to die in those wars. Those children won’t be studying hard science either. They’ll get creationist fake Bible science to keep them fat dumb and happy and fueling those war machines and factory machines and stuffing the pockets of those clever, outspoken guys who are “just like him.”

    What if he started focusing on the issues instead of on hate speech? If he started asking why he pays so much at the pump for gas and why he can’t get good dental insurance to fix those missing teeth and why labor is now outsourced to India or China and why the real estate market now has a record number of defaults. Oh, no we can’t have Snaggletooth asking those kind of questions. Keep him busy with the “faggot” routine and he’ll forget about the real issues.

  • Ralph

    Now, IH. We wouldn’t want to say that the homophobic routine isn’t a real issue, would we? For pity’s sake, since when did we give up our God-given right as Americans to forbid consenting adults from doing things in the privacy of their own homes that we think are icky?

    But seriously. You’re right. There’s the bully factor, too. Bullies attract sidekicks. The sidekicks kiss up to the bullies because they’re afraid that if they don’t, they’ll end up getting bullied themselves. So they egg on the bullies, saying things like “Yeah, man. Kick his ass.” Then they laugh at the victimization of others.

  • Phil

    Wow ralphie and iroq, after all that, I still think you are socialist assholes. :-)

    SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK!! Read history books people!!

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