MPAA Hires Four Ex-Federal Government Employees, Including One From ICE & Another From The White House
from the watch-that-revolving-door dept
Alex Swartsel, who has worked for several Democratic senators and campaigns, is the new director of global policy. Brian Cohen, who has worked in the Justice Department and for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is the new director for external state government affairs.Two of these aren't huge surprises. The Pastarnack hire hit the news a few months ago, when people noticed that she jumped from being a point person on PIPA to working directly for the MPAA. Swartsel's name may also be familiar. We tangled with her last summer, when she bizarrely took to the MPAA's blog to attack reporter Janko Roettger for accurately predicting that bad economic news might lead people to seek out unauthorized sources of movies, rather than paying through the nose for authorized versions. Now, the MPAA's former boss had said the exact same thing, but according to Swartsel it's somehow "intellectually dishonest" to point out what might happen. Swartsel also was the one who flat out mocked the concerns of tech entrepreneurs concerning SOPA and PIPA. Turns out she did all this as a "consultant" to the MPAA -- and they thought she did such a bang up job that they've hired her full time as "director of global policy."
Lauren Pastarnack, who has worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the new director of government affairs. And Kate Bedingfield, who joins the MPAA from the White House Communications Office, is the new director of strategic communications.
Given her former attacks on reporting the truth and concerns of the tech industry, it seems pretty clear that the MPAA is not moving in the direction of their promised open conversation with the tech industry and internet users concerning solutions to infringement. It sounds like they're moving in the other direction.
A further indication of that, of course, is the hiring of Cohen, direct from the MPAA's private police force... better known as ICE. Remember, when ICE launched Operation In Our Sites to illegally seize and censor websites, it did so directly from Disney's headquarters. The close relationship between ICE and the MPAA should worry everyone. The fact that there's a revolving door in employment between the two should be cause for an investigation concerning possible corruption. But, of course, that won't happen... when that kind of revolving door also includes someone like Bedingfield, coming straight out of the White House.
It's stories like this that make you realize why the MPAA is so powerful. It knows that it has a strong hold on government employees, because it's offering a bunch of them high paying jobs once they leave their government positions. And, as Jack Abramoff has explained, the best trick in a lobbyist's pocket is to tell a government employee that there's a job waiting for them any time in the future -- because they're technically working for the lobbyist from that moment forward.