Rick Santorum Was Senate Point Man for Lobbyist-Legislator Revolving Door

Mitt Romney’s next line of attack against insurgent frontrunner Rick Santorum will likely be that Santorum is, like Newt Gingrich, a former quasi-lobbyist. While Santorum was not legally registered as a lobbyist, he pulled down hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what was, essentially, lobbying. In fact, Santorum’s lobbying background goes far deeper than Gingrich’s.

In 2006, Democrat Bob Casey boxed Santorum about the ears over his association with the controversial K Street Project – an effort initiated by Grover Norquist, and for which Santorum was Senate liaison. The goal of the project was to get Republicans hired in key lobbying positions throughout Washington, D.C., as a response to Democratic dominance of the lobbying trade over several decades. Santorum, according to The New Republic, “conducted weekly breakfasts with lobbyists, and occasionally Congressmen and White House staff, during which he attempted to match Republican Hill staffers with K Street job openings.” Santorum apparently tried to smack the Motion Picture Association of America by reneging on a tax deal worth $1.5 billion after they named a Democrat to head up their lobbying effort rather than a Republican.

Controversy quickly surrounded the project when rumors circulated that Republican legislators were giving access to lobbying firms based on the level of their political donations. Santorum distanced himself, and in 2007, the Pelosi House forced through the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which banned Congressional members from influencing employment of private entities based on political donations.


That’s not Santorum’s only connection with the lobbyists. Santorum is apparently deeply tied to the beer lobby. He is also tied to Consol Energy, a natural gas company that has paid him $142,000 for his supposed non-lobbying. Santorum is as much a Washington insider as Newt Gingrich ever was – and he has the income to prove it.


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