The Great 2010 Cashout: Approps Chairman Obey joins Gephardt's lobbying firm 

After decades of spending your money, former Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) will now be pocketing your money -- he's cashed out to the Gephardt Group, the lobbying firm run by former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).

There's nothing surprising about this, on one level. After all, as Gephardt says in a statement, "as former Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, no one knows the federal government's funding process better than he does." Translated: "Nobody can get you pork like the Gephardt Group!"

But you might be surprised if you believed Obey's populist rhetoric directed at the special interests. Like this Obey press release attacking "special interests" eight times.

In light of Obey now working on K Street for a lobbying firm whose clients include Boeing, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, and Peabody Energy, it's also worth calling up some of the praise liberals have poured on Obey in recent years.

Upon Obey's retirement, Milwaukee mayor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett said:

For more than four decades, Dave Obey has been a champion of reform and justice and a voice in Congress for those too often pushed aside by special interests and powerful insiders.

Obey was a chief architect of the largest spending bill in history, the stimulus bill, which included plenty of goodies for GE in the form of green-tech subsidies. The bill also included a $1-billion earmark for a coalition of coal companies called FutureGen -- also a Gephardt client.

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Timothy P. Carney

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