Lobbyists putting in billable hours live on MSNBC 

The Nation has a fact-filled and interesting piece (via Reason) on lobbyists and consultants who go on TV as if they were disinterested experts, and advance positions that help their clients. My favorite part deals with the AIG shills who stuck up for the administration's bailouts. One example:

Another person with AIG ties is Ron Christie, now at the helm of his own consultancy. While working at Republican-leaning firm DC Navigators, now Navigators Global, from 2006 through September 2008, Christie was registered to lobby on behalf of the insurance giant, lobbying filings show. During that period, AIG shelled out $590,000 to DC Navigators.

On September 18, 2008, Christie went on Hardball to discuss the government's response to AIG's near implosion days earlier. He was introduced only as a Republican strategist. As Chris Matthews mocked a presidential press conference on the financial crisis held earlier that day, Christie interrupted to say President Bush was "smart to have gotten a former person from Goldman Sachs who is a very bright man, who understands the markets and liquidity."

Christie was referring to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who had once been the chair and CEO of Goldman Sachs and who played a pivotal role in the AIG bailout. "This is not a political sideshow. This is putting the right person in his administration to deal with this crisis," Christie said.

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Timothy P. Carney

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