Chris Dodd has pulled out all the stops in order to pull out of a polling free-fall in Connecticut. Burned by sweetheart mortgages provided to him by Countrywide, one of the more notorious subprime lenders, Dodd now wants people to believe that he’s the Scourge of Lobbyists Everywhere. Why, Dodd even makes them cry! Perhaps they get teary-eyed when they see Dodd sucking cash out of their wallets:
“The lobbyists can’t get meetings with Chris,” Dodd’s campaign manager Jay Howser said in a recent e-mail to supporters. “He won’t return their phone calls … Chris just isn’t giving them the time of day.”
The videos even suggest Dodd has been so hard on lobbyists that he’s made them cry.
But the tough talk hasn’t stopped Dodd from raking in tens of thousands of dollars in lobbyist campaign contributions this year. It hasn’t prevented Dodd from letting lobbyists host his fundraising events. Or kept Dodd from schmoozing with lobbyists at places like Martha’s Vineyard, a favorite summer getaway spot for the rich and famous off the Massachusetts coast.
Well, of course not! Those, you see, are the good lobbyists. And you know how to tell good lobbyists from the bad ones that Dodd makes cry themselves to sleep? Why, the good ones are those that sign big checks to Dodd … and give him sweetheart mortgages that help him buy Irish mansions.
How much money has Dodd received from lobbyists? According to the Center for Responsive Politics, over $400,000 since 2005. Just this June, powerful lobbyists from the health-care industry tossed tens of thousands of dollars into Dodd’s kitty, as the linked article details.
Dodd is a populist hypocrite of the worst type. There is nothing wrong with lobbying, assuming it doesn’t slip into outright corruption. As we have repeatedly pointed out, lobbying Congress is so fundamental to representative democracy that it’s included in the First Amendment right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Faux-Populists like Dodd demonize the people who do that in order to assume some grassroots credibility, while lapping up the lobbyist cash they deride. On top of that, Dodd’s team sends out inane press releases about how Dodd makes lobbyists cry.
If Dodd ever made a lobbyist weep, it was out of sheer joy. If politicians wanted to seriously reduce the influence of lobbyists, they would start by greatly reducing the amount of money spent in Washington. Without pork, without federal dollars getting spent, the lobbyists have nothing to demand. It’s statists like Dodd who keep lobbyists flocking to Capitol Hill by creating more and more opportunities for their clients to feed at the Beltway trough.