Beltway Confidential

John Podesta and CAP blend lobbying, access, policy, and fundraising

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Center for American Progress,Hillary Clinton,Campaign Finance,Lobbying,John Podesta

John Podesta's Center for American Progress offered access to Hillary Clinton in exchange for a $250,000 donation, according to Kevin Bogardus at The Hill.

A dozen of CAP's donors in 2012 and 2013 were simultaneously lobbying clients of the Podesta Group -- the lobbying firm co-founded by John Podesta and run by John's brother Tony -- according to Lachlan Markay at the Free Beacon. Last decade, the Podesta Group was Walmart's lobbyist on Obamacare while CAP was partnering with Walmart to support the small-business-crushing employer mandate.

Ken Silverstein at the liberal "The Nation" reported in May on corporate influence at CAP, with this striking line: "Staffers were very clearly instructed to check with the think tank's development team before writing anything that might upset contributors, I was told."

I currently am a visiting fellow at the center-right think tank American Enterprise Institute. AEI has corporate donors. The notion that scholars or fellows like me should check with fundraisers before publishing would be absurd at AEI.

Now, of course, John Podesta (himself a revolving-door former lobbyist) joins dozens of other ex-lobbyists in the Obama administration. Given Podesta's closeness with the Clintons, he will likely be the bridge between the Obama administration and Hillary's presidential campaign. That makes his seamless blending of access, corporate cash, and government power pretty relevant going forward.

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