POLITICS

‘Cybersecurity is a lobbyist’s dream’

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

The best way to get taxpayer cash flowing to special interests is to gin up some sort of new crisis. Cybersecurity is a great recent example, as Bloomberg reporters Eric Engleman and Jonathan Salant report.

There were 513 filings by consultants and companies to press Congress on cybersecurity by the end of 2012, up 85 percent from 2011 and almost three times as many as in 2010….

Washington’s plan to fight attacks had Raytheon Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., which want to sell security products, lobbying on cyber bills and appropriations.

I think its notable here that one of President Obama’s first lobbyist waiver went to Deputy Def. Sec. William Lynn, a Raytheon lobbyist up until his hire. And, as I wrote in my 2011 column on the rise of the cybersecurity-industrial complex, Raytheon was the No. 2 source of campaign cash for House Cybersecurity Caucus Chairman Jim Langevin.

Then there are the passages that point out how our politicians pretty explicitly push companies to spend more on lobbying and Washington consultants:

Companies “used to think they could ignore this issue or sweep it under the rug,” Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the Senate Commerce and Intelligence committees, both of which have considered cyber bills, said in an interview….

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, in September asked all Fortune 500 chief executive officers about their companies’ cybersecurity practices and their views on the federal government’s role in improving computer defenses.

That made companies realize cybersecurity would gain a higher profile in Washington, said Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, a partner at Monument Policy Group, a lobbying firm representingBoeing Co. (BA), Microsoft Corp., and LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD)

“Companies are realizing that it’s important to engage with Congress and with the administration to ensure they have input on the development of laws, rules and regulations that affect them,” said Herrera-Flanigan, a former staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee.

Notable, given Rockefeller’s comments was this nugget I reported in 2011:

Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2010, which would direct billions to cybersecurity centers and research. Rockefeller’s former chief of staff, Jim Gottlieb, is now a lobbyist at Capitol Counsel representing tech giant Cisco Systems on “legislation pertaining to cyber security,” according to a recent lobbying filing.

In the last election cycle, Gottlieb gave at least $19,000 to Democratic candidates, according to Federal Elections Commission data.

More government means more lobbying means more campaign contributions — all of which creates more incentive and more lobbying for more government. Stimulus!

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