Lobbyists say that Ways and Means chairmanship won’t change

posted at 9:30 am on March 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Speculation over the succession after Charlie Rangel finally took a “leave of absence” from his Ways and Means chair has gripped the political media.  The next ranking Democrat, Pete Stark of California, is widely seen as a nut.  Some wondered whether Democrats may elevate John Lewis of Georgia over others with more seniority in order to (a) avoid Stark and (b) mollify the Congressional Black Caucus.  In the end, they couldn’t avoid Stark.

Lobbyists, though, aren’t impressed at all with what they see as a charade — because the same person will be in charge no matter what:

It doesn’t matter who the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is to K Street, because Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been the de facto power behind the panel for some time, according to lobbyists and congressional staffers.

Pelosi has had a major say on the committee’s agenda since Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) came under fire last year for several ethics controversies, these sources said.

Most lobbyists don’t expect that to change now that Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) will serve as the acting chairman of Ways and Means.

How did Nancy Pelosi manage to get her grip on the power of Ways and Means?  Her right-hand man makes sure she keeps it:

Another consistency is Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who sits on the committee and is also assistant to the Speaker. Some lobbyists say they’ve been directed to go through Van Hollen to get the Speaker’s input on issues going through the committee, something likely to continue.

“Pelosi wanted more of a say in what Ways and Means does, and the congressman helps that along,” one lobbyist said.

That’s rather clever, in a Machiavellian way.  Rangel’s power before last year, and his political connections in Congress, would have kept Pelosi from strongarming him into sharing power.  Rangel wound up needing Pelosi more than the other way around, thanks to the ethics probes, and she exploited his weakness expertly. Now that she has the mechanism in place for holding power, don’t expect her to give it up.

However, this puts Pelosi in a rather interesting — and highly hypocritical — spot.  She became Speaker after accusing the Republicans of maintaining a “culture of corrupti0n” with lobbyists on Capitol Hill, and not entirely unfairly, either.  Now we discover that not only has Pelosi presided over her own culture of corruption, the lobbyist march now goes directly through her.  That makes her more or less personally responsible for the lobbying activities at Ways and Means, and perhaps at other committees as well.  Does anyone doubt that Pelosi wouldn’t have made the same kind of arrangements at Appropriations after last year’s PMA scandal?

Meanwhile, just how nutty is Stark?  Investors Business Daily has a list of his greatest hits on video.  Hot Air has kept up as well:

I’m sure you get the picture.  Committee meetings should at least be entertaining.  How long before he threatens to throw a Republican out the window?


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Pelosi:

“Seize them; Seize them”.

Cybergeezer on March 4, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Are you serious? Are you serious?!

AceR on March 4, 2010 at 9:35 AM

One hopes on Janauru 1, 2011, she is going somewhere. She’s cleaned out the Speaker’s office and has moved down the hall to a standard-size office, Hoyer having also ousted her as caucus chair.

Wethal on March 4, 2010 at 9:36 AM

I am not surprised. Nancy is doing everything she can to power grab. It’s going to be fun to watch her, after the Nov. elections, hand the gavel over to a new speaker.

milwife88 on March 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Hoyer is no better than Bela Piglosi.

honsy on March 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

He wants to tread lightly on the physical intimidation tactics. He might just find himself on the outside looking in very, very quickly. He can make all the stupid statements he wants (and he will!), but threatening people with physical violence will ultimately cost him everything. Even his fellow Democrats can’t allow that to take place without severe consequences.

GoldenEagle4444 on March 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Worst. Speaker. EVER.

Good Lt on March 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Well of course, you don’t expect America’s Grandma to just sit back and let other people make decisions, do you?

Bishop on March 4, 2010 at 9:40 AM

The way this Administration has been going, we as a country will be prematurely buried, and Khrushchev’s proclamation will become reality if something is not done soon.

It is ironic that Parliamentary Procedures established/created a committee titled “Ways and Means”. However, this dysfunctional Administration has convoluted the committee, but not changed the sign on the door or position on business cards to “The Ways to a Mean Team”.

MSGTAS on March 4, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Meanwhile, just how nutty is Stark?

Not nearly as nutty as the people who voted him in.

DJ from MA on March 4, 2010 at 9:44 AM

I don’t think Pelosi cares a wit about the hypocrisy of the whole thing.

I hope committee meetings are widely televised so everyone can see the corruption that is this congress.

Hopefully the public’s anger will just keep increasing and we can get some new blood in there.

I’m worried because Obama seemed to get a bounce in the polls after his train wreck of a summit.

What were people watching? Certainly not what I watched.

petunia on March 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM

I wonder, if in my lifetime I’ll ever see the US Government returned to a organization where people like Rangle, Pelosi, Obama and lobbyists are banned from Government work.

I mean, seriously. Will our government ever be ‘for the people, by the people’ again or is it hopeless? It makes me sad inside knowing that this circus is destined to continue even after I’m 6 feet under.

Thunderstorm129 on March 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM

It takes a woman to clean a house.

a capella on March 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM

“Seize them; Seize them”.
Cybergeezer on March 4, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Classic! :-)

thomasaur on March 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM

I am not surprised. Nancy is doing everything she can to power grab. It’s going to be fun to watch her, after the Nov. elections, hand the gavel over to a new speaker.

milwife88 on March 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

I wish her nothing but the worst!

This will be a highlight of the coming year. A moment to savor.

petunia on March 4, 2010 at 9:47 AM

As despicable as Pelosi is she seems to have been able to outsmart the other hopelessly corrupt democrats. Must be rough working with the woman who owns the only other key to the testicle lock box.

fourdeucer on March 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM

When he was first elected he represented the Livermore, CA area. The land of nuclear engineers, scientists, U of C Livermore Lab and Sandia; just your typical nuclear weapons lab. The cowboys were being displaced and are probably long gone from Livermore. I used to live there and he was first elected because the GOP had a right of center candidate, or sounded like one. Pete was a bank executive and seemed so-o-o-o normal and educated. Yes he is a nut and someone should throw him out a window. And throw Rangel in jail along with Dodd, Conrad and a few others. the rest of congress with few exceptions should be thrown out of office.

Here is a quiz: can anyone think of a Democrat worth keeping in congress. I can think of a few in the GOP, but Dems, none.

amr on March 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM

In other words, Washington has been reduced to being Wonderland, and Pelozilla is its very own Red Queen.

Guess that means Stark is the Mad Hatter, huh?

So what does that make B.O.?

pilamaye on March 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Nancy is going somewhere… Back to the back bench after November’s catastrophe.

wildcat84 on March 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

If Nanzi begins pounding her Gucci pumps on the desk and screams “We will bury you,” then we will know she has finally snapped.

Is taking a leave of absence from a chairmanship permitted in House rules?

Philly on March 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

November can’t come fast enough.

rbj on March 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

So what does that make B.O.?

pilamaye on March 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Stinky.

uknowmorethanme on March 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM

So what does that make B.O.?

pilamaye on March 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

The White Hare, always talking and always rushing in a mad scramble to do something without actually getting anything done.

jwolf on March 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM

I mean, seriously. Will our government ever be ‘for the people, by the people’ again or is it hopeless? It makes me sad inside knowing that this circus is destined to continue even after I’m 6 feet under.

Thunderstorm129 on March 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Well yeah. That’s the big elephant in the room that few will talk about. Do we want to just win a lot of seats back, and basically switch sides but get right back on the same see-saw with our “opponents,” or do we want to destroy our enemies? Just personally, given my age and temperament, I’m for winning, or leaving. I don’t like to play games.

JiangxiDad on March 4, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Thanks. That explains why Pelosi is Rangel’s staunchest defender. He’s her puppet.

petefrt on March 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM

The most corrupt Speaker of the House in history claiming to have the most ethical Congress in our history is the epitome of insanity. Pelosi doesn’t have to have the intelligence to lead, she just needs to be smarter than those who elect her. Is there any doubt why the cess pool that spawns this buffoon is bankrupt?

volsense on March 4, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Is he a nut – nut.

MarkTheGreat on March 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Insanity prevails.

OmahaConservative on March 4, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Heaven help us…
Stark is not just a nut, he is certifiable. I do wonder though, is he insane to the point where he will ignore Nancy?

JusDreamin on March 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

It doesn’t matter who the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is to K Street, because Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been the de facto power behind the panel for some time, according to lobbyists and congressional staffers.

Nobody is on the take with lobbyist as deep as the democrats.

I hope the American voter will realize just how full of sh!t the democrats are:

What Obama said:

We are — here is my promise — and by the way, I’ve been keeping my promises since I got into office. (Applause.)

Obama:Town Hall Meeting today at Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Tonight, Barack Obama said, “To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.


During the campaign, on the Obama-Biden change.gov website, the ethics agenda page quoted candidate Obama as saying:

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists—and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”

Plus this artful phraseology:

In a 2007 speech, he said he was “running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won’t work in my White House.”

A few days later, he changed the phrasing to say that lobbyists “are not going to dominate my White House.”


The Press praised Obama for his stance against “business as usual” on Capital Hill…..Hope and Change was on the way!!!!

In October of 2007, the Washington Post noted that Obama had “fulminated against ‘lobbyists’ and ‘insiders,’ and claimed that (he) will end ‘business as usual’ in Washington if elected president.”

Back in April of 2007, for instance, Obama made a show of giving back donations from some Washington lobbyists to illustrate his intolerance for them. At the time campaign spokesman Bill Burton said to The New York Times that it was a “symbol” of Obama’s disdain for lobbyists.


What Obama did:

Obama makes a mockery of his own lobbyist ban
By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
February 3, 2010

More than 40 former lobbyists work in senior positions in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries and the CIA director. Yet in his State of the Union address, Obama claimed, “We’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.”


Lobbyists on pace for record year

By: Victoria McGrane
December 22, 2009 04:38 AM EST
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=B41E9106-18FE-70B2-A8C96E940F1F48D1

Main Street has had a tough year, losing jobs and seeing little evidence of the economic revival that experts say has already begun.


But K Street is raking it in.


Washington’s influence industry is on track to shatter last year’s record $3.3 billion spent to lobby Congress and the rest of the federal government


Lobbyist were right there helping set policy and spend our tax dollars…….

“President Barack Obama’s top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press…

Bankrolling charitable gifts

By Silla Brush and Kevin Bogardus

Financial firms and other companies receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for meetings and charitable gifts on behalf of lawmakers.

In the last six months of 2008, as a financial crisis enveloped the country and lawmakers voted on a $700 billion financial rescue package, eight companies that would benefit from that package spent roughly $366,000 on events and charities connected to members of Congress, according to a review of congressional lobbying records.

The priorities of Democrats, exposed

posted at 5:25 pm on February 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Elected representatives on Capitol Hill complain that they have not yet received the final Porkulus write-up, but that’s because Democratic leadership on the Hill had more important people to consult. US News reports that the Democrats sent the bill to K Street lobbying firms before getting it to the people who need to vote on Porkulus:

EXCLUSIVE: Lobbyists help Dems draft climate change bill

Democratic lawmakers who spent much of the Bush administration blasting officials for letting energy lobbyists write national policy have turned to a coalition of business and environmental groups to help draft their own sweeping climate bill.

Democrats Benefiting From Post-Election Lobby Boom
By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 14, 2008; A01

Barack Obama spent much of his presidential campaign decrying the influence of Washington lobbyists. In the 10 days since he was elected, he already has had an impact: He has touched off a mini-boom on K Street.

President Obama ordered federal officials to disclose their contacts with lobbyists trying to influence how the government doles out money to jump-start the economy. Yet few such communications have been reported even though lobbyists say they are busier than ever with the multibillion-dollar stimulus. …


The leader of the Senate made it clear where the democrats priorities would be……..

Reid invited top lobbyists to join him and his supporters for an inaugural brunch Monday where he told ABC News that he will still do plenty of business with them.

“And there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Reid. “And Obama will be meeting with them too.” When asked to clarify his remarks, given Obama’s promises to change that part of Capitol culture, Reid responded that lobbyists are part and parcel of the job.

EVERY ….SINGLE ….WORD ….THAT ….COMES…OUT ….OF …..BARACK OBAMA’S MOUTH…..IS ….A ….BOLD….FACE…LIE!!!

Baxter Greene on March 4, 2010 at 10:31 AM

The more things change the more they stay the same .
Should we expect anything less from Pelosi ?
She is obviously hiding what she knew about the CIA waterboarding , not to mention her husbands ties to Stocks that were ” bailed out”
We have a political process that is ” bought and paid for ”
The cost of a yes vote on healthcare is now an appointment to a position on the appeals Court.
Is the Secretary of Navy job offered to Sestak worth more or less than the position of appeals court judge ?
WE only have one choice and that is VOTE EVERY INCUMBENT OUT !!

ELMO Q on March 4, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Politico reports that Stark has stepped aside:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33908.html

and that Levin will take over until the end of the session. So much for Rangle’s leave of absence.

dogsoldier on March 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Levin is at least a reasonable liberal Too bad…I was going to enjoy watching Stark be Chairman.

neoavatara on March 4, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Pelosi stinks to high heaven, time to deport that stinking corpse.

daesleeper on March 4, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Good gosh. How nutty do you have to be for the House Democrats to think you’re a nut?

It boggles the mind.

misterpeasea on March 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Black Widow – Charlie Rangel had to have known better.

Dr Evil on March 4, 2010 at 12:39 PM

That is interesting. Are there more chairman/woman of other powerful committees the sock puppet of Pelosi?

‘Do/vote as I say, or I’ll let loose ethics investigation on you!’

Sir Napsalot on March 4, 2010 at 12:39 PM

November can’t come fast enough.

rbj on March 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Amen, rbj.

2012 cannot come fast enough: Anyone But Barack Again (ABBA): Waterloo.

Philly on March 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM