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.