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Howard Dean has been lobbying without disclosure for 3 years—and recommends buying both sides

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Howard Dean via Shutterstock
First, I want to say why I'm writing this post. It's because I hate this stuff.

Money buys the world, both the Dem side and the other. In fact, I've said far too many times — the goal of Money is to enable Republicans and neuter the Dems. It's why the rachet works.

And by Money I mean the big boys (Our Betters) who own both sides of every bet. Money is why progressives never win, even when Democrats do.

Case in point, Howard Dean. Lee Fang, writing at Naked Capitalism (my emphasis and some reparagraphing*):
One of the biggest problems with lobbying in Washington D.C. is the extent to which so many influence peddlers work behind closed doors, refusing to disclose their clients or register their work with the ethics office. Newt Gingrich became the poster boy for this phenomenon[.] ...

But Gingrich isn’t the only politician working as an unregistered lobbyist. I have uncovered video that shows liberal icon Howard Dean discussing his government affairs work for corporate interests.

Dean has been lobbying without disclosure for about three years. In 2009 after his stint as chairman of the Democratic Party, Dean joined the law/lobbying firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge as a non-attorney “Strategic Advisor.” The firm’s lobbying practice has a wide range of clients, from health care, to insurance, to even Keystone XL beneficiary TransCanada.

The firm website says Dean “focuses on health care and energy issues, as well as providing expertise derived from his extensive experience in public office.” The firm seems to advertise Dean as a lobbyist, despite the fact Dean has not registered as a lobbyist.
Howard Dean's not alone in this. The same charge has been levied against Tom Daschle — another (ahem) Democrat — one who also "not-lobbies" the health care industry.

But back to Dean. During his not-lobbying talks, Mr. Princple advises his not-clients to support both sides of the health care world, if they must support someone. Fang again:
I clipped a portion of a video posted online by McKenna, Long & Aldridge that features Dean discussing the post Citizens United campaign finance world along with former Republican Party chief, Michael Steele. Dean candidly disclosed that he works primarily with health care corporations, and that he advises that if they do contribute, they should contribute to both Republicans and Democrats[.]
You really do need to read this, and watch that embedded video (it's only two minutes, and fascinating).

Let me be clear — Howard Dean is not evil. The advice he gives in the video is very good, the kind of thing a pro should say. He's worth his money, seriously.

But his progressive values do not trump his careerism; they don't even trump his party loyalty (which progressives should not have, in my view). He's therefore not, and will likely never be, the Great Progressive Hope — except in a fooled-you ad campaign selling rhymes-with-soap.

And he's also not fairly characterized in his media appearances, according to Fang:
What’s more troubling ... is how Dean uses his powerful platform as a pundit and political leader without disclosing his work as an influence peddler.
Did I mention I hate this stuff?

Which brings up the obvious twin questions:
  • What does a real Progressive Coalition look like?
  • If we're going to try to win — really take a shot — where's the best leverage?
But that's for later. For now, thank you, Mr. Fang, for this kind service. Better to know than not.


*Why I sometimes reparagraph quotes. Typography is all about situation. If a page uses wide margins and lots of leading (inter-linear spacing), paragraphs can be long without being formidable (example here). But if a page has narrower columns and tighter spacing, paragraphs must be shorter, or the reader will encounter the "wall of type" problem, at which point the eyes glaze over. Neither layout is bad or good, as long as paragraph length adapts. For example, that first blockquote above was just two paragraphs in the original, and I cut some of it out. Another example — this paragraph here; most of you likely didn't read it all. Proof enough? (Yes, I did that on purpose. This should have been broken at least in thirds.)

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