Revolving Door: Main Architect Of PIPA (Senate Version Of SOPA) Now… Lobbying For The MPAA

from the just-swings-around-and-around-and-around dept

A couple of years ago, we wrote about an interview with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in which he explained one of his most effective strategies in getting legislation in his favor. The key trick: find key staffers working for elected officials and tell them they had a job waiting for them whenever they wanted it. Here was the key bit:

And he would ask them: “When do you want to start?” If they said “two years,” he knew that the guy was already working for him, but on the inside. As he says “I really hired him that day,” even though he went on for two more years working as a chief-of-staff to someone in Congress.

Just yesterday, we wrote about Rep. Howard Berman — famous for his support of ever expanding copyright law — who has now been hired to lobby for the MPAA. Berman, the former Congressman, is obviously the headline piece. But, along with that news came some further news that didn’t get as much attention — which is that in hiring the firm that Berman works for, Covington & Burling, the MPAA didn’t just hire Berman, but also Aaron Cooper, who was Senator Patrick Leahy’s chief intellectual property staffer, and the main guy behind the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), the Senate’s version of SOPA.

The MPAA, of course, was the main driving lobbying force (along with the US Chamber of Commerce) to get SOPA/PIPA approved. And here we are, just a couple of years later, and the Congressional staffer who was the main internal architect of that bill is… now officially paid by the MPAA. The old “revolving door” continues to swing round and round. Jack Abramoff would be proud.

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Companies: covington & burling, mpaa

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Comments on “Revolving Door: Main Architect Of PIPA (Senate Version Of SOPA) Now… Lobbying For The MPAA”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Confirmation...

And it is incredibly difficult to make a reasonable legislation to catch it: As long as the bribery is about something potentially happening in the future, plausible deniability is active. The only way to curtail it would be to store the promises (however you would obtain them legally…) and as soon as the door spins, clap the trap and indict them of conspiracy to defraud.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Possible Revolving Doorstops

1. Door stop, doorstops.
2. No compete clause on elected officials barring them from working in industries where that industry has been before the legislature during that officials term.
3. Chewing Gum. Seriously, this might work. Send all your used chewing gum to congress. If there is as much chewing gum being used in the US as I think there is, how long till we really gum up the works over there.
4. Mechanical. Unhinge the door. Something that goes in a circle that is out of balance will start to drag, and then stop. There are two central points of balance, one at the top and one at the bottom. Financial seems the way to go. The FBI set the tone, set up stings on congresscritters. It worked in ABSCAM or whatever it was called, and the FBI says it’s legal.
5. Term limits. Don’t let any of them stay long enough to gather actual power.
6. Create an app that follows, shall we call them ‘revolvers?’, after they have revolved that keeps folks updated with their current contact information. For spam…uh…er…communicative purposes only. Will work the same as the chewing gum

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Possible Revolving Doorstops

2 is not really possible and doesn’t hit the true culpable persons. Staffers are so much more valuable targets for this.
4 is absolutely possible if it is legal, but this is not as easy as money-bribes. The time-scale is much longer and the chance of discovery much higher.
5 is by far the easiest way to curtail many types of corruption.

Ralph Clark (profile) says:

corruption is corrosive to society

Nonsense like this brings the law and the lawmaking apparatus into disrepute. It breeds a sense of disdain for the law – after all, if you know the system will never treat you fairly, why subscribe to it? It turns basically law-abiding people into opportunistic criminals whose sole concern is getting their share by whatever means, without getting caught.

I view this as tragic. But the people responsible don’t lose any sleep over it because they already inhabit that mental space. They cant even conceive of people being essentially law-abiding by nature. They’ll pay lip service to the idea but really they think its a fairy story. When they claim it of themselves they are lying, and so they assume we all are too.

I am of course talking about Republicans.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: Republicans don' monopoly on corruption

Agreed, and I’ve learned that the only time I trust a partisan is when he/she is criticizing the other party. As long as I’ve been voting, both parties have been rushing to see who can achieve rock bottom in standards while conning their lemmings to think it’s the other guys that are the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:


Non-competes are very controversial.

If you just write no competing companies for x years you are basically making the person unhirable. If it states that you have to have the same kind of position, the delineation is extremely important to avoid it ruining the persons future.
If it doesn’t include further restrictions than the type of job, it is basically still throwing away your education. Thus you have to be even more specific. Some lawyers in some countries recommend a geographical limitation of the companies you can seek employment at. Others want named companies and even others want combinations of other restrictions. Non-competes are very controversial because a badly written one is basically dooming a persons future.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


“Non-competes are very controversial because a badly written one is basically dooming a persons future.”

“Badly written” is a matter of perspective. They’re typically written by the entity doing the hiring, and so are intentionally as broad as they can possibly be. From their point of view, a well-written noncompete will keep the employee out of the job market entirely and forever.

I’ve signed bunches of these (one for every employer I’ve had, actually), but I have never once signed one that I didn’t modify first. As with all other employment contract terms, these are totally negotiable. So negotiate them. I modify them so that they prohibit me from competing specifically with the company’s products and projects that I am being hired to work on, for a period not longer than 2 years. I am flexible on the term (so I have a concession I can make during the negotiation), but under no circumstances does that exceed 5 years. Usually, we settle on 3.

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