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July 02, 2015

Late Hits: Why Were Liberal Democrats Raising Money For Darin LaHood?

Timothy P. Carney looks through LaHoods disclosures, old and new, and finds so many nuggets.

It's another battle pitting the K Street wing of the GOP against the Tea Party wing. LaHood's past and his donor list show his close ties with the Beltway lobbyist class.

LaHood first came to office when he was appointed to a vacant State Senate seat a few years ago. In 2011, running for his first full term in the State Senate, LaHood came to Washington for a fundraiser. The fundraiser was hosted by Democratic lobbyist Bernie Robinson, the former chief of staff to liberal Democrat James McGovern of Massachusetts.

Why would a chief of staff for a Massachusetts Democrat throw a fundraiser for a Republican state senate candidate? "Darin is my friend," Robinson said at the time. LaHood had worked in D.C. for years, as a congressional staffer and at the Justice Department. Robinson also has Illinois GOP ties, having been the state's lobbyist in Washington for two years when Republican George Ryan was governor.

Oh, and also Robinson was a transportation lobbyist who was lobbying the U.S. Department of Transportation, at that point run by LaHood's father.

Robinson is a partner at the Livingston Group lobbying firm. Among his practice areas, according to his bio on the firm's website, is "Transportation, Shipbuilding, Shipping and Ports."

It gets worse.

This proximity to K Street and big business is the norm for LaHood.

Comb through LaHood's PAC donors, and you see plenty of transportation PACs: Warren Buffett's BNSF railroad contributed the maximum $5,000 as did Caterpillar. The Union Pacific Corporation's PAC gave $2,500....

LaHood says he would vote against crony capitalism, including the Export-Import Bank, but his FEC filings suggest his donors don't believe that. The PACs for Boeing, Caterpillar, John Deere -- all top Ex-Im beneficiaries --- are all LaHood donors. Sean Mulvaney, who sits on the board of Ex-Im, also donated to LaHood.

K Street is coming out in droves for LaHood. Lobbyist Robinson has donated to LaHood again. Eight lobbyists from the Podesta Group --founded by Obama chief of staff John Podesta and run by John's brother Tony -- have donated to LaHood.

If we can't even win this one, then let's just never bother again.


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posted by Ace at 09:01 PM

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