GOP freshmen already hiring lobbyists for staff

Several freshmen have hired lobbyists — the ultimate Washington insiders — to lead their congressional staffs. In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s swearing-in, dozens of the newcomers joined other lawmakers in turning to lobbyists for campaign cash.‪ And on Wednesday, congressional offices will be packed with lawmakers’ relatives, friends, constituents and lobbyists, all invited to celebrate the new Congress. ‪

This picture of business-as-usual Washington clashes with the campaign rhetoric of many newcomers, some who were propelled by support from the anti-Washington “tea party” movement. It also muddles the image House Republicans hoped to project as they took the helm this week. In contrast to the public celebration thrown by Democrat Nancy Pelosi when she became speaker four years ago, incoming House Speaker John A. Boehner has tried to strike a subdued and earnest note as he takes up the gavel…

As a candidate, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — who defeated longtime Sen. Russell D. Feingold — blasted his opponent for being too close to a union lobbyist. But after winning the Senate seat, Johnson appointed a former lobbyist, Don Kent, as his chief of staff. Since 2008, Kent has worked as a registered lobbyist for Navigators Global LLC. His clients included Tyco International, United Parcel Service and CSX Transportation. Johnson’s office did not respond to a call for comment.