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Lobbyists Invading Bush Administration

  • Washington is agog as George W. Bush enlists lobbyists as "transition" advisers -- in great numbers.
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By James Harrer

In a startling break with long-established procedure, President-elect George W. Bush is enlisting corporate and financial lobbyists to serve as "transition ad visers" to his cabinet nominees.

"Traditionally, the teams of advisers who chart the policies and future course of a novice administration were invariably made up of eminent persons such as distinguished scholars, re nowned experts or experienced political aides," said veteran congressional in ves tigator Conrad Russell.

Lobbyists were permitted -- and well paid -- to attempt to influence the decisions of any incumbent or incoming administration, but they were almost never allowed to assume the role of decision makers themselves .

Now the transition team that is charting policy for Paul O'Neill, the Bush no minee for treasury secretary, is made up of salaried lobbyists from Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan, Paine Web ber, Chase Man hattan Bank, Citi group, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and a few other voracious Wall Street powerhouse money-centers.

Chase is represented at Bilderberg meetings by David Rockefeller and Goldman Sachs is represented by Pe ter Sutherland.

Lobbyists from Union Pacific, United Parcel Service and CSX serve prominently on the transition team providing guidance for Norman Mineta, nominated to head the Department of Trans portation.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, tapped to head the En vi ronmental Protection Agency, is relying for advice, not on naturists or outdoorsmen, but on investment banker Bob Grady, chief lobbyist for the Carlyle Group, one of the largest in vest ors in de fense-related industries.

The huge 23-member advisory board that had been assembled for Linda Chavez, picked by Bush to serve as secretary of labor and then mournfully dumped in the midst of a minor scandal, listed only two representatives of organized labor among its members. The rest of the future labor secretary's policy advisers were corporate or financial lobbyists.


"Official Washington is being turned upside down," said congressional investigator Tom Welty. "The lobbyists, who used to hang around the corridors to catch the ear of an official, are now the insiders, the decision makers. And the wise counselors and political research ers who used to dispense policy advice must hope they can get a word in edgewise before the paid corporate influence-peddlers decide the course this government ought to follow."