Speaking of floor leaders: Steny Hoyer’s intimate ties with lobbyists 

Did you hear about the man who could be Speaker of the House next year who has intimate ties to lobbyists and raises outstanding sums of money from them?

No, I’m not talking John Boehner — I’m talking about House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who has raised far more money from lobbyists this year — $142,000 — than any other House candidate. In fact, Hoyer has outraised Boehner 3-to-1 from K Street.

Of course, ties with K Street aren’t all about fundraising. As this weekend’s New York Times hit piece on Boehner puts it:

He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R. J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.

Some of those company names — Goldman, Citi, Miller — remind me of Robert Cogorno.  Hoyer’s former floor director, Cogorno is a lobbyist representing those companies Goldman, Citi, and MillerCoors. Cogorno also represents the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft, the Managed Funds Association, and a dozen more big companies.

Cogorno has given $41,000 to Democrats this election alone, including more than $2,500 to Hoyer. Cogorno’s boss, former top Democratic staffer Steve Elmendorf, has donated to Hoyer each of the last few cycles.

Then there’s Hoyer’s old legislative director Gregory Gill. Gill’s lobbying clients include Altria (which is twice the size of RJ Reynolds, the hedge fund Blackstone Group, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cook County — and that’s just a sample of A through C. Gill, an alumnus of the fabled Cassidy and Associates, has given $17,000 to Hoyer over the years.

There are many other Hoyer-K Street connections:

  • Cory Alexander, a lobbyist for Fannie Mae and UnitedHealth.
  • Hoyer’s former chief of staff William Black works at Fleishman-Hilliard, whose clients include the National Association of Broadcasters, Peabody Energy, and AARP.
  • Hoyer’s senior policy adviser Scott DeFife left to lobby for Wall Street at the Securities Industry and Financial Management Association, but now he’s at the National Restaurant Association.
  • His former aide Lee Friedman is now a VP of Government Relations at the National Cable and Telecom Association.
  • Former counsel Julian Haywood, who works for Heather Podesta, lobbying on behalf of Eli Lilly, Marathon Oil, Time Warner, U.S. Steel, and others.
  • Former Senior Legislative Assistant Catriona MacDonald, now a lobbyist.
  • Gill’s partner William Nordwind, who also represents Blackstone, Marriott, Time Warner, and Verizon.
  • Andrew Quinn, a seven-year veteran of Hoyer’s office, has started his own lobbying firm, whose clients include Roche, Motorola, and DuPont.
  • Joyce Rogers, another Hoyer staffer gone K Street, represents AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Pfizer, Tyco, Visa, and dozens more.
  • Former Hoyer Policy Director Melissa Schulman lobbies on behalf of the American Hospital Association, DuPont, Vivendi, the American Chemistry Council, et alia.

There are others, but this list is long enough. Do you think Robert Gibbs is going to tear into Hoyer? Will the New York Times run a piece on Hoyer’s lobbyist friends?

The heart of that Times piece on John Boehner was that, regarding lobbyists, “Mr. Boehner’s ties seem especially deep.” After looking at this data, I wonder if things would seem different to the Times’ Eric Lipton.

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Timothy P. Carney

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