Sarah Palin's Lobbyists
Palin may not yet be as notorious as the influence peddlers in Washington, but she’s working to fit right in. She’s surrounded herself with associates of Jack Abramoff and Ted Stevens—some of the biggest names in the corruption game—and scored huge pork for Alaska in the process. With cronies like those, Sarah Palin and John McCain have a lot in common.
Palin didn’t buck Alaska’s Republican culture of corruption, she hired it.
Lobbyist Hired By Palin Secured $27 Million In Federal Earmarks for 6,700-Person Town.
“Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group…As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh—an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska's most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm…According to a review of congressional spending by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington, Wasilla did not receive any federal earmarks in the first few years of Palin's tenure. Senate records show that Silver's firm began working for Palin in early 2000, just as federal money began flowing…All told, Wasilla benefited from $26.9 million in earmarks in Palin's final four years in office. ‘She certainly wasn't shy about putting the old-boy network to use to bring home millions of dollars,’ said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. ‘She's a little more savvy to the ways of Washington than she's let on.’
Lobbyist Hired By Palin Was Part of “Team Abramoff.”
“According to Senate lobbying disclosure reports examined by TPMmuckraker, from 2002 to 2004 Silver listed as a client Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. On Greenberg's behalf, Silver lobbied the federal government on ‘issues relating to Indian/Native American policy,’ ‘exploration for oil and gas’ and ‘legislation relating to gaming issues’ -- the very issues that Abramoff headed up for Greenberg at the time. In other words, Silver appears to have been a part of ‘Team Abramoff.’ Indeed, one specific bill that Silver lobbied on for Greenberg, according to the forms, was S.627, also known as the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act. A former Greenberg lobbyist confirmed to TPMmuckraker that Silver would have been working to oppose the bill. And it was an earlier version of this very bill that Abramoff famously worked to spike, with the support of Christian conservative leaders Lou Sheldon and Ralph Reed.” [Talking Points Memo, 9/2/08]
Lobbyist Hired By Palin Called A Member of Ted Stevens And Don Young’s “Inner Circle” And His Firm “Became Ensnared In The Wide-Ranging Federal Investigation Of Corruption By Alaska Republican Officials.”
In hiring Silver, Wasilla found someone who was a member of each lawmaker's inner circle. Silver has donated at least $11,400 to Stevens's political committees and $10,000 to Young's reelection committee in the past decade, according to Federal Election Commission records. Sliver's firm employed Stevens's son, Ben Stevens, in the late 1990s as a federal lobbyist, according to multiple media accounts. Ben Stevens was not listed on lobbying disclosure forms as having worked on Wasilla earmarks. The firm became ensnared in the wide-ranging federal investigation of corruption by Alaska Republican officials. Federal agents reviewed records about its other municipal clients, as well as fishing companies represented by Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh that were close to Ben Stevens.” [Washington Post, 9/2/08]
Palin’s $27 Million in Earmarks For Wasilla Came While Ted Stevens Was Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee.
“The Palin earmarks came when Stevens was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Young was a senior member of the House transportation committee.” [Washington Post, 9/2/08]
Blatant cronyism won Palin’s lobbyist friends top positions—Sound familiar?
Palin Appointed Lobbyist for the Fishing Industry as Her Fisheries-Policy Adviser.
“She appointed Cora Crome as her fisheries-policy adviser—a very powerful post in a state where fishing is a major industry. Crome formerly worked for the United Fishermen of Alaska, an industry lobbying group, and was married to a commercial fisherman who made more than $600,000 in 2006. (They are divorced; a McCain aide, who didn't want to be identified discussing personal matters, says the divorce occurred before she joined the Palin administration.) In a brief conversation, Crome said she was in a meeting and didn't have time to comment; the McCain campaign declined to comment.” [Newsweek, 9/6/08]
Palin “Counting on Her Lieutenant Governor Candidateâ€¦ Former Oil Lobbyist” to Help Win Oil Industry Support.
“The defiantly grass-roots nature of the campaign may have distanced her from certain traditional centers of power in Alaska. The oil industry is one -- but the campaign says it is counting on her lieutenant governor candidate, [Sean] Parnell, a former oil lobbyist and legislator, to help there.” [Anchorage Daily News, 10/24/06]
Oil and energy lobbyists fueled Palin’s rise
Palin Took $17,675 From 33 Different Lobbyists During Her 2006 Campaign for Governor. For her 2006 campaign for Governor, took $17,675 in contributions from 33 different lobbyists. [Alaska Public Office Commission]
Palin Took $13,000 from Lobbyists Representing the Oil Industry in Her 2006 Campaign for Governor.
The lobbyists who donated to her campaign represent a range of industries, including oil and gas, tobacco, education and the Native Alaskan community. "She's fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve," Mr. McCain said Friday at an Ohio rally to introduce her as his running mate. But since Mrs. Palin leads a major oil-producing state, that industry is one of her top donors. She collected nearly $13,000 from lobbyists who represent oil and gas industries in her primary and general campaigns, according a review of her campaign donations and 2006 registered state lobbyists. [Washington Times, September 1, 2008]