“The hypocrisy from both sides is staggering.”
I was sitting on Nantucket with a glass of wine in hand when I realized I couldn’t stomach the job any longer.
I was a lobbyist between 2003 and 2010 in Washington, DC. I quit in disgust. Years of legalized bribery had exposed me to the worst elements of our country’s political workings. Not even my half-million-a-year salary could outweigh my conscience.
In my years as a lobbyist, I worked for the alcohol industry, for the racing car industry, and for a billionaire named Carl Icahn. I met with hundreds of Congress members advocating for the political interests of my employers and clients. Now I make my living as a journalist and host of the Decode DC podcast, where I help listeners understand the inner workings of Washington.
When I tell people I used to be a lobbyist, their ears perk up. To me, people are intrigued because it feels like a hidden world. Most Americans don’t think they’ve ever met a lobbyist or actually understand what the hell a lobbyist does. Their only association is Jack Abramoff, who served time in a federal penitentiary for, among other things, bribing members of Congress. He was a bad guy, and his actions left a bitter taste in the mouths of the body politic.
But the truth is most lobbyists are not at all like Abramoff or his cronies were back in their glory days. They were the exception to the rule. Today, most lobbyists are engaged in a system of bribery but it’s the legal kind, the kind that runs rampant in the corridors of Washington. It’s a system of sycophantic elected leaders expecting a campaign cash flow, and in return, industry, interest groups, and big labor are rewarded with what they want: legislation and rules Read More Here