GOP Lawmaker Defends Colleagues Hiring Corporate Lobbyists: ‘You Want Someone With Experience’

After helping to elect a new class of right-wing Republicans, corporate interests are swooping in to take command of their legislative offices. As ThinkProgress reported this morning, at least 13 freshmen Republicans have hired corporate lobbyists as chiefs of staff. The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen picked up on this trend as well and reported on it today. Asked about Eggen’s article on CSPAN this morning, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) gave a spirited defense of using lobbyists to provide “knowledge and experience” for new lawmakers. “I don’t share the disdain for lobbyists,” he said, adding, “you want someone with experience”:

CAMPBELL: You know, I — and this may not be the most popular thing to say — I don’t share the disdain for lobbyists that seems to be often be in the public venue. The constitution provides the people the opportunity to petition their government. […] If you’re a freshmen, you want someone with experience because you may have a lot of ideas, you may have a lot of vigor for things, but what you don’t have is knowledge and experience on how this town or how this place works. So those freshmen are asking for someone with knowledge and experience.

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Corporate lobbyists are also burrowing into government by entering the staff of incumbent lawmakers as well. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), the new Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, appears likely to hire Dwight Fettig as his “senior policy adviser.” Fettig is a lobbyist who represents the American Bankers Association, JP Morgan Chase, and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.