The Recession

Business Gets Seat at Table? Ha. How About All Seats?

| by Public Citizen

It keeps spinning and spinning and spinning. It’s a wonder people don’t get dizzy with the the revolving door between the government and Big Business spinning out of control.

More than 340 former members of Congress and 3,665 former congressional staffers have since taken up lobbying or related activities, reports the Center for Responsive Politics. Add to that former OMB chief Peter Orszag, who cashed out to become VP of Citigroup, and outgoing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who wants to move on to consult corporate clients.

But don’t worry. The revolving door spins the other way, too. Take, for example, Bill Daley, President Obama’s new chief of staff, who comes to the West Wing straight from JP Morgan. Add to the mix all of corporate K Street lobbyists making a new home in congressional offices.

Does Big Business get a seat at the table? It’s looking more and more like it’s getting all the seats at the table — “and more on back order,” says WaPo’s Dana Milbank.

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Milbank certainly has a way with words:

The few rules to slow the revolving door do little, both because of the routine granting of waivers and because of loose registration requirements for lobbying.

All of this gave the business lobby much to celebrate as chamber members discussed the State of American Business over mini-muffins and banana bread Tuesday morning. Tom Donohue, the chamber’s white-maned CEO, hailed the “new tone coming from the White House” since the elections – which the chamber influenced by spending tens of millions of dollars from donors kept anonymous, Donohue explained, so opponents couldn’t “demagogue them.” Donohue said he’s “absolutely convinced” that the new business-friendly White House will move his way on regulation and trade.