Now that Democrats are in power, what was once called “corruption” they now call “strategy”.
Remember when Democrats called Tom Delay’s K Street project a “rampant abuse of power“?
In his dealings with K Street lobbyists, DeLay explicitly stated he would operate by “the old adage of punish your enemies and reward your friends.”
Lost in the pay-to-play system is any concern for good governance.
RAMPANT ABUSE OF POWER: New York Times columnist David Brooks explained “the real problem wasn’t DeLay, it was DeLayism, the whole culture that merged K Street with the Hill, and held that raising money is the most important way to contribute to the team.” The culture permeated the entire congressional leadership; they were willing buyers of what lobbyists were selling.
Even Nancy Pelosi “pledged” to “kill the K Street project” among other things on her way to leading the “the effort to turn the most closed, corrupt Congress in history into the most open and honest Congress in history.”
That is why, with our Democratic Declaration of Honest Leadership and Open Government, we are pledging to enact and enforce legislation that will:
-Ban all gifts and travel from lobbyists. Period.
-Kill the K Street Project, the Republican plan that trades favors for lobbying jobs, and toughen public disclosure of lobbyist activity…
When Republicans were in control, Ms. Pelosi and company denounced the “K Street Project,” run by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. They protested that corporate lobbyists were allowed to become a fourth branch of government–and in some cases their protests had merit, as Republicans curried favor with money interests.
Meanwhile, Democrats under Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Schumer have quietly erected their own K Street Project, and employ some of the same strong-arm tactics they once deplored. “I’ve never felt the squeeze that we’re under now to give to Democrats and to hire them,” says one telecom industry representative. “They’ve put out the word that if you have an issue on trade, taxes, or regulation, you’d better be a donor and you’d better not be part of any effort to run ads against our freshmen incumbents.”
It’s not an issue of ideology, it’s an issue of power and access. But for Democrats to have campaigned on it as an issue of corruption only to turn around and engage in it themselves once in power… it’s now an issue of hypocrisy, too.