"New Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) defends hiring energy lobbyist as chief of staff"
Incoming Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) ran as a tea party candidate, who claimed to be determined to change how business was done in Washington. But the R-UT is already in the rut, as ThinkProgress explains in this cross-post.
On Fox News Sunday, Lee was asked by Chris Wallace why if his goal was to “drain the swamp” would he pick to have an energy lobbyist as his Chief of Staff? Lee responded that he wasn’t “scared” of lobbyists and that his lobbyist was “brilliant”:
WALLACE: Senator Lee, you have chosen an energy lobbyist as your Chief of Staff. Is that the right person to drain the swamp here in Washington?
LEE: I’ve hired the brightest political mind, political consultant, and lobbyist in Utah – a man named Spencer Stokes. He’s a brilliant man. He understands Utah politics and he understands Washington politics and I need a man like that to help me in Washington.
WALLACE: And you’re not scared off by the fact that he is a lobbyist?
LEE: Ahh no, he’s a lobbyist and he’s a political consultant and I am not scared off by that. He and I share a common vision“¦
Lee joins many other incoming Republicans, such as incoming Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) who, despite rhetoric of cleaning up Washington, have all hired lobbyists. As the Washington Post reported last month, “Many incoming GOP lawmakers have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides. Several of the candidates won with strong support from the anti-establishment tea party movement”¦. These cases illustrate the endurance of Washington’s traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric.”
— a ThinkProgress cross-post.
Related TP Post — “At Least 13 New Republican Members Of Congress Hire Corporate Lobbyists To Manage Their Office,” including
- Rep.-elect Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) selected lobbyist Tim Harris as his chief of staff. Harris works as lobbyist for a trade association representing the shareholders of energy companies like American Electric Power, Duke Energy, NiSource, Vectren.
- Rep.-elect Mike Pompeo (R-KS) selected Mark Chenowerth as his chief of staff. Chenowerth previously worked as a lawyer on the lobbying team for Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch. As ThinkProgress reported early this year, Pompeo was groomed for office by Koch Industries-run front groups, and has served as an executive for Koch Industries oil company subsidiaries.
- Rep.-elect Robert Dold (R-IL) selected corporate lobbyist Eric Burgeson as his chief of staff. Burgeson works for the lobbying firm BGR Holdings serving business clients in China, the coal industry, and a nuclear company.