Policy: Health Care

Bob Dole is a corporate lobbyist --- that seems relevant

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Health Care,Lobbying,Revolving Door,Corporate Welfare

Bob Dole, the former Republican presidential nominee and Senate floor leader, gets a glowing 2,000 words in the Washington Post this week, as he makes peace with old rivals, tours his old state, and bashes the conservatives in his party. One word that never appears among those 2000 words: Lobbyist.

The Post's Dan Balz treats Dole's current employment this way:

Dole has been out of elective office for almost two decades, but not out of politics or active life. He still goes to his office at the law firm of Alston and Bird nearly every day. He spends time on veterans issues. Last December, he pushed for Senate to approve a United Nations treaty modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. Members of his own party defeated it.

It seems relevant that Alston & Bird is not nearly a "law firm" as Balz describes it, but a Top 15 lobbying firm, pulling in more than $25 million in lobbying fees over the last two years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

And Dole's work there includes corporate lobbying -- for casinos, drug companies and other health-industry players.

If the piece was about Bob Dole as a war hero, I would understand the omission of his K Street job. But the focus of the Balz piece is Dole's critiques of his party's conservatives. In this context, it seems particularly relevant that Dole's clients profit from and supported Obamacare, and they profit from and support more federal spending.

Of course, Dole's lobbying work was completely ignored in 2009 when he had nice things to say about Obamacare as the bill was being drafted.

The lesson: Are you a Republican lobbyist who wants good press and no mention of your day job? Just knock the crazy free-market guys getting in the way of your clients' subsidies.

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