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. Yet on Fox News Sunday this morning, 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.”