Friday, December 22, 2006

Even a Bridge to Nowhere Goes Somewhere

I agree with the central idea of this report from the Center for Public Integrity that any instance of political consultants playing a dual role of lobbyists should be carefully examined. As more and more power winds up in the hands of fewer and fewer people, certain hats shouldn't hang on the same players' hat-stand.

But in this particular article I think that writer Sandy Bergo missed the mark when she tried to pin this practice on Christopher Bond, at least in the example she chose. I wouldn't be surprised if Bond was found to be a part of such practice; I tend to be suspicious of anyone that's been in politics as long as Kit. I'm just saying that the case Bergo uses to illustrate her point seems to fail. You can read the article for yourself but briefly, here's what happened: Tony Feather, who had acted as one of Bond's reelection consultants had switched hats and was now lobbying for a bridge from St. Louis, MO to Illinois. He had one meeting with Bond where they discussed this and Bond later became a key senator in getting the thing pushed through. Fine, Feather probably should have stayed away from the meeting but Bond would have pushed for this bridge anyway. He's a Missouri Senator and that's what Senators and congressmen do - get money for their districts. Whether Feather had been involved or not, Bond would have latched onto this project and held on with both hands. Besides pork for his state, it was also pork for one of the two liberal strongholds in his state. He'd be a fool to turn down any good will that he could garner from voters that typically reject his positions.

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