Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: When your fundraiser is also a lobbyist, the fun never stops. .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, January 14, 2005

When your fundraiser is also a lobbyist, the fun never stops.

News Flash! Polititians use their position to give their friends access to large government contracts.

Two Democratic congressmen on Thursday asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to provide Congress written communications between his department and a lobbying firm run by a longtime friend.

The request stems from an Associated Press story that the day after President Bush named him secretary, Ridge flew to Arizona and spent several days with a prominent Bush-Cheney fund-raiser, David Girard-diCarlo. It was the first of two trips Ridge made to Scottsdale, Ariz., in late 2002 and early 2003 to stay at Girard-diCarlo's home.

Two of Ridge's homeland security aides left the White House after the first trip and went to work for Girard-diCarlo lobbying Ridge's newly created department. Several of the lobbying firm's clients have been awarded contracts by the department.

And you thought that all Tom Ridge did while he worked for the Bush administration was come up with the color coded terror alert system. No, he's been doing what he does best. He got the Homeland Security job by being one of Bush's biggest fundraisers in the 2000 election. Now he's sharing his good fortune with his buddies, who not only raised funds for him, but also get to lobby him for lucrative contracts.

At the time of Ridge's trips, Girard-diCarlo's firm represented Raytheon, one of a team of companies that Homeland Security recently awarded border protection work worth up to $10 billion over the next decade.

Girard-diCarlo's friendship with Ridge dates back more than a decade when his fund-raising was instrumental in Ridge's two successful campaigns for the Pennsylvania governorship.

Oh, the tough life of the public servant. But it seems that all that effort of scratching the other guy's back pays off. Whaddya wanna bet Tom makes a comfortable living in the lobbying business after he's done shilling for the current administration?


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