Dirty Politics With Polluted Mud/
Ex-pols are now G.E. lobbyists:
Weren't these supposed to be 'the good guys'?
by G. M. Heller
So what do these seven Capitol Hill big shot ex-politicians
have in common?
Gerald Solomon, Republican, former U.S. Representative from
the state of New York;
Jimmy Hayes, Democrat, former Rep., Louisiana; Vic Fazio,
Democrat, former Rep., California;
Vin Weber, Republican, former Rep., Minnesota;
Bill Brewster, Democrat, former Rep., Oklahoma;
Bob Livingston, Republican, former Rep., Louisiana. Mr.
Livingston was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for a few precious
months after Newt Gingrich's resignation. During the midst of the Bill
Clinton impeachment hearings in the House, Mr. Livingston tearfully said
good-bye to that body as a statement of conscience over his own private
And last, but certainly not of lesser stature,
George Mitchell, Democrat, soft-spoken, Mister Northern
Ireland 'Good Friday' Peace Accords himself, the former U.S. Senator from
the state of Maine, and an individual whose ethical and moral quotient
was heretofore considered by many to be quite high.
Deeply-connected Washington Insiders
So just what is it that all seven of these deeply-connected Washington
insiders have in common? C'mon, take a stab at it!
You guessed it! These seven Capitol Hill big shot ex-politicians
are now seven Capitol Hill big shot lobbyists, all being generously paid
by General Electric Company to lobby Congress (well hell,
someone has to pay the tab on all those Capitol Hill pied-a-terres and
Potomac, Maryland mini-chateaus). These high-powered lobbying folk are
not just lobbying their old colleagues on the Hill. They also are
putting subtle yet strong pressure on the federal agencies and agency heads
whose budgets these ex-politicians once controlled.
This information graciously provided by Coast
Alliance, a network of over five-hundred organizations working
to protect America's coasts, and which in the course of its work comes
across this sort of data.
So these smooth-talking ex-pols, whose days once were filled catering
to the varied interests of thousands of constituents, now use the expertise
they garnered and the valuable contacts they made to cater to some quite
specific interests of the country's single largest (and wealthiest) industrial
Ex-Congressional staffers, too!
These former M.O.C.s--members of Congress-- are not the only ones stumping
on the Hill for G.E.. Former staff members from the House and Senate
are also hitching a ride on G.E.'s fabulously cushy lobbywagon.
Here is a list of former congressional staffers who, like their brethren
above, lobby on behalf of G.E. either as actual employees of the Company,
or as employees of law firms or lobbying firms retained by G.E. for the
express purpose of lobbying on specific issues affecting the Company:
Keith Cole -- former staff, House Commerce Committee;
Phil Cummings -- former staff, Senate Environment & Public
Jim Matthews -- former staffmember for Representative Tom Manton;
Lee Forsgren -- Former staff, Transportation & Infrastructure
George Mannina, Jr. -- former staff, House Merchant Marine Committee;
Patricia Casano -- former staff attorney, U.S. Department of
Peter Prowitt -- former staffmember for Senator George Mitchell;
Rob Wallace -- former staffmember for Senator Wallop.
Who are they lobbying, and Why?
Okay Class, next question: Guess what specific sensitive issues these
lobbyist insiders have been assigned to tackle?
Right again! Good work. Their task is to lobby elected officials
and federal agencies (like the Environmental Protection Agency) on environmental
matters, specifically the sensitive subject of river and ocean sediments
contaminated by G.E. with PCB's and other nasty chemicals, and on matters
relating to natural resources damaged as a result of pollution for which
G.E. is partly or fully culpable.
And the Hudson River?
Question: Is any of this relevant to the Hudson River today and to
G.E.'s present ad campaign against dredging PCB's?
You betcha! Pollution in the upper Hudson River now consists mostly
of PCB-contaminated sediments and plumes of God-knows-what combinations
of chemical toxins seeping underground to the water table.
Oh Look! See the Pretty Pictures!
The entire ecology of the river, including the fish, birds and other
wildlife, is considered to be a natural resource heavily damaged via the
impact of all these chemicals on the total river environment.
Regardless of the pretty pictures G.E. paints in its glossy advertisements
(a favorite seems to be the one with the sun glistening off the river waters),
the damage is not necessarily anything you can see since these kinds of
toxins work at the cellular, and even molecular level.
Next lesson: The names of the lobbying and law firms for which
these ex-Capitol Hill people work..........and, just what is the little-known