I have varied interests as my readers may have noticed, and though some are not political in practice, they of political interest. Others are directly political. These interests cannot be represented by me alone; I simply do not have the reach. I do some reaching out with this blog I work within DPO to try to see some interests are included, and I have used the candidate forum as a stage; but none of these give me direct access to policy makers nor the clout of being able to point to a large interested group. Simply the ability to point to a large interest segment is of value, but beyond that are the skill sets involved in person to person persuasion and understanding of the politician's political considerations. These varied skill sets are not easily obtained in the ordinary workplace; this type of schooling is obtained by being near that action. Professionalism in lobbying is scarcely a sin; it is a requirement.
As usual, in something like politics there is a caveat, while professionalism is a requirement, there is the who employed the professional when they are working in a political campaign. This actually matters, their expertise is developed in fairly narrow areas and their influence can be narrowed by the 'who' they know. Just as framing carpenters and finish carpenters are both carpenters; they are not the same jobs. A lobbyist's area of experience may well say something about the agenda of a campaign. Some of the candidates have registered lobbyists, either on leave or currently employed, working for them as aides.
The Hill took note of some of the aides/lobbyists. Hillary Clinton's campaign employees Rachel Kelly, a lobbyist on leave from Great American Insurance Company and her finance director Jonathan Mintz, registered in '05 with the Podesta Group. Obama's campaign has Teal Baker, on leave from Podesta and Brandon Hurlbut on leave from B&D Consulting. John Edwards has Adam Jentleson formerly of the Center for American Progress and Matthew Morrison formerly from American Federation of Teachers.
Over at Mitt's campaign Barbara Comstock, a partner at Corallo Comstock, continues to lobby because she is a consultant to the campaign rather than an employee. (cough)
In '06 the primary sources of the Podesta Group's income were the medical industry, defense, investment and media. B&D Consulting's income is a very mixed bag but primarily medical, education, and local government. Corallo Comstock's primary income has been Hearst Corp.
The emphasis of these campaign's is reflected in the interests of some of these aides: health, education, labor. What gets interesting is 'who are the players at the table.' The links will take you to Open Secrets' table of lobbying organizations and the groups and their expenditures. The Clinton campaign is real heavy on the industrial aspect of medicine and the insurance side. Investment groups are a huge benefactor of insurance companies' capital; insurance companies are actually investment groups using your premiums as their investment source. The linkage between insurance and investment cannot be overstated.
The Podesta Group's 2006 lobbying income is listed at $12.2 million and as Tony Podesta told The Hill:
Perhaps...meanwhile, who has the candidates' ears?
“I talk to them all time,” said Tony Podesta, who as the head of Podesta Group worked with Baker and Mantz. “Either one of them is welcome to return.
Podesta downplayed the potential benefit to his firm if Clinton or Obama win the presidency and his former colleagues land influential positions.
“If Teal works in the White House, I’ll know someone on staff,” he said. “But it’s not like this would be a special point of access. I’m pleased and proud [the campaigns] recruited someone from here."