The Washington Post's Dan Eggen has a detailed look at who is likely to be exerting pressure on the Super Congress behind the scenes.

Like many federal contractors, General Electric has a lot riding on the work of a new congressional “supercommittee,” which will help decide whether to impose massive cuts in defense and health-care spending.

But the Connecticut-based conglomerate also has a potential advantage: A number of its lobbyists used to work for members of the committee, and will be able to lobby their former employers to limit the impact of any reductions in the weeks ahead.

GE is hardly alone: Nearly 100 registered lobbyists used to work for members of the supercommittee, now representing defense companies, health-care conglomerates, Wall Street banks and others with a vested interest in the panel’s outcome, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data. Three Democrats and three Republicans on the panel also employ former industry lobbyists on their staffs.[...]

“When the committee sits down to do its work, it’s not like they’re in an idealized, platonic debating committee,” said Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, which is tracking ties between lobbyists and the panel. “They’re going to have in mind the interests of those they are most familiar with, including their big donors and former advisers.”

lobbyists graph

lobbyists graph
Sources: Washington Post analysis of data from Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation and congressional lobbying records. Dan Eggen And Laura Stanton/Washington Post.

GE is in a particularly interesting position, as it has federal contracts in defense, but also has deep interests in the health care industry—medical device makers, etc. So it could be GE against GE when Catfood Commission II has to decide on cutting defense versus Medicare reimbursements.

About two-thirds of the lobbyists with ties to the committee have those ties to Democrats, most significantly Sen. Max Baucus, who apparently has a revolving door from his office directly to K Street. Then there's PhRMA, with staff "who previously worked for Murray, Baucus, Kerry and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). One top aide to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) also used to represent PhRMA as a health-care industry lobbyist." It's going to lobby against rebates to make prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare. Of course.

Both the lobbyists and the committee staffs say that these ties will have absolutely nothing to do with the work of the committee, that the former staff members wouldn't dream of talking to their old bosses about the committee's work. Right.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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