Meet Five Of Mitt’s Beltway Bandits
To heighten contrast with a Democratic president, Mitt Romney presents himself as a reforming Washington outsider. But the resumes of several top advisers – energy lobbyists, defense lobbyists, and other K Street veterans – indicate his close relationship with his party’s Beltway insiders, who have so much to gain from a Republican victory in November.
Drew Maloney: Congressional Relations and Fundraising
Maloney, CEO of Ogilvy Government Relations, has raised enormous sums of money and wrangled Congressional support in both of Romney’s presidential campaigns. Among his lobbying clients have been such mammoths as Verizon, Pfizer, and Fannie Mae. In the second quarter of 2011 alone, Maloney bundled $56,750 for Romney. Early in his career he generated controversy as a chief of staff and fundraiser for Tom DeLay, the former Republican Majority Whip, now free on bail while appealing his money laundering conviction.
Vin Weber: Economic Adviser and Possible White House Chief of Staff
As a member of Congress, Vin Weber overdrew his House Bank account by $47,987 and wrote 125 bad checks. He “retired” from Congress in 1992 to became managing partner of lobbying firm Clark and Weinstock. (In 2006, Freddie Mac paid Weber $360,297 to lobby on its behalf.) Today he helps run the American Action Network, a shadowy, Karl Rove-linked “charitable” group pushing repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Jim Talent: Energy Adviser
As Senator from Missouri, Talent voted “no” on reducing carbon emissions by 2025; now he’s a lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest coal producers, Peabody Energy. So although Romney was once concerned about climate change, his energy platform calls for increasing production of coal and amending the Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from environmental regulations.
Michael Chertoff: Special Adviser
Best known as a co-author of the Patriot Act, the former Secretary of Homeland Security has learned how to turn a profit while “protecting” the nation. Following the arrest of the “underwear bomber” in December 2009, Chertoff made several media appearances to promote full-body scanning systems – with revealing that Rapiscan Systems, a client of his firm, the Chertoff Group, makes the scanners. The Transportation Security Agency then ordered 300 Rapiscan machines – winning $173 million in stimulus contracts — although the Government Accountability Office has said it “remains unclear whether (the scanners) would have been able to detect the weapon” used by the underwear bomber.
Cofer Black: National Security Adviser
Black is Romney’s intelligence agent in Washington’s world of insiders. As a CIA veteran operations officer, he was in charge of counter-terrorism on 9/11. He left the agency in 2007 to join Blackwater, Inc., at the height of the notorious security company’s contracting spree in Iraq and Afghanistan.