Buying of the President 2004

Published — May 6, 2004 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Lobbyists bankrolling politics

Bush gets nearly four times as much as Kerry


More than 1,300 registered lobbyists have given slightly more than $1.8 million to President George W. Bush over the last six years, according to a Center for Public Integrity study comparing the donations of all registered lobbyists from 1998 through March 2004. Sen. John Kerry received $520,000 from 442 lobbyists during the same period.

Such numbers account for a significant percentage of those who ply the influence game. In fact, the lobbyists who donated to Bush have represented about 6,000 clients; those who gave to Kerry, approximately 3,000 clients. Combined, these figures add up to more than half of all the companies that hire lobbyists, according to the Senate Office of Public Records. The SOPR says that there are currently 24,000 lobbyists registered to represent 15,000 clients.

The Center’s study is the first of its kind to precisely track donations to presidential candidates from all federally registered lobbyists. Until now, campaign finance analysts used industry coding, a method that has included thousands of dollars from individuals not registered to lobby, while omitting donations from thousands of lobbyists hired outside of traditional lobby shops.

Several of the lobbyists donating to Bush also raise funds for the president. The campaign Web site’s directory of volunteer fundraisers lists more than 550 so-called bundlers: Mavericks, who raise $50,000, Pioneers, who raise $100,000 and Rangers, who raise $200,000.

Of these, the Center found, 52 lobbyists—who have together raised more than $6 million for Bush’s reelection—represent more than 800 organizations and companies. Since Bush’s election as president, their firms have reported billing these clients $146 million for lobbying.

The Center also found that the Bush administration appointed 92 lobbyists to its transitions advisory teams between 2000 and 2001, according to its study of lobbying records and lists of transition teams made available by OMB Watch. These transition teams gave lobbyists a strong voice in affecting regulatory decisions; many were assigned to the very branches of government that they had been paid millions of dollars to influence. Nor did their work as lobbyists suffer from their stint in the transition committees: since then, these lobbyists’ firms have reported billing their clients more than $250 million for lobbying.

While there is a disparity between the sums of money given to each candidate, some of the lobbyists giving to Kerry and Bush worked for the same firm. For instance, both Patton Boggs LLP and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP are among Bush’s and Kerry’s top four donors from individual lobbyists. Similarly, another 21 lobbyists gave money to both candidates. A trend has emerged where the lobbyists giving are often connected to the largest contributors to these presidential candidates. In fact, each of Bush’s top ten career patrons were represented by at least one lobbyist who donated to the president’s campaign, as were nine of Kerry’s top ten career patrons.

Bush Lobbyists

Among the many lobbyists giving money to Bush is Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig. According to the firm, Abramoff left Greenberg Traurig after he “disclosed to the firm for the first time personal transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm” in connection with his representation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Abramoff, who is closely associated with House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, is a Bush Pioneer who also has lobbied on behalf of companies like Tyco for government contracts and tax legislation.

Other lobbyists who have donated to Bush have enjoyed the perks of political appointments that have included transition teams, positions with federal agencies and ambassadorships. Former Pioneer and lobbyist Peter Terpeluk was appointed as ambassador to Luxembourg in 2002.

But the measure of success for a lobbyist is whether he or she is able to influence legislation. Take Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP lobbyist and former Bush Pioneer John Schmitz, who represents Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a health care electronic prescription company called RxHub. RxHub paid $1.3 million for the services of Schmitz and three associates. During a two-year period, they lobbied for RxHub on only one listed bill: the recently passed Medicare Prescription Drug bill.

Related Charts

On March 4, 2003, RxHub got a break when Bush announced support for a proposal to make medical records and prescriptions available electronically. At an American Medical Association meeting, the president announced his initiative to increase funding to “help hospitals use information technology” by 53 percent. This provision became a core part of the only bill that RxHub lobbied and had a part that critics said was “tailor made to support” RxHub. The bill signed into law by Bush in December ended up including huge authorizations in favor of the company’s area of expertise at a time when the Bush administration is asking others for fiscal restraint.

Kerry Lobbyists

The Kerry campaign also has its share of lobbyists who are acting as fundraisers. Piper Rudnick LLP’s John Merrigan, for example, has given the senator thousands of dollars while lobbying on behalf of Merrill Lynch, Northwest Airlines and Raytheon Co.

In an unprecedented move last week, Kerry voluntarily released a list of some 300 lobbyists whom the senator has met with in the last 15 years. The move was intended to put pressure on the Bush campaign to release a similar list and to make public information about those who worked on the administration’s controversial task forces.

A study of these documents by the Center found that 27 of those whom the Senator met with made donations totaling more than a $100,000 to Kerry’s campaigns over the years. The campaign lists four of them as major fundraisers.

Other lobbyists who have been especially close to the senator include David Leiter, his chief of staff for six years. Leiter is a long-time beneficiary of Washington’s loose “revolving door” policy, who years after his Senate position became a lobbyist for Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, where Kerry’s brother works. While contributing to Kerry, Leiter lobbied for a number of companies, including Cablevision, AT&T, and Clear Channel, that fell under the senator’s purview as a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Also representing AT&T is Michael Whouley, a top lobbyist-turned-Kerry-political consultant. As the Center reported on May 7, 2003, Kerry has co-sponsored legislation favored by and written letters on behalf of the wireless telecommunications industry.

Agustín Armendariz, Alexander Cohen and Daniel Lathrop contributed to this report.

Registered Lobbyists Appointed to Bush’s Transition Teams and Their Activity

Team FName MI LName Affiliation Lobbying Expenditures
Interior Jason Campbell Public Lands Council 27,113,226
Labor Randel K Johnson Chamber Of Commerce Of The U.S.A. 22,840,000
Treasury Gary J Gasper Ernst & Young 20,400,000
Commerce Barney J Skladany Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 19,004,000
HUD Arne Christenson Fannie Mae 17,447,000
USTR William J Morley Chamber Of Commerce Of The U.S.A. 14,900,000
HHS Doug Badger Washington Council Ernst & Young 13,000,000
HHS Carl Feldbaum Biotechnology Industry Organization 11,306,000
Transportation Carl Biersack Barbour Griffith & Rogers 9,200,000
Treasury Susan Molinari Washington Group 9,027,000
HHS Vicki E Hart Verner Liipfert Bernhard Mcpherson & Hand 8,990,000
USTR Frank Vargo National Association Of Manufacturers 8,802,220
Commerce Jerry J Jasinowski National Association Of Manufacturers 8,802,220
Commerce Ray Cole Van Scoyoc Associates 7,210,000
HHS Mark Isakowitz Fierce & Isakowitz 6,900,000
USTR Deborah A Lamb Distilled Spirits Council Of The U.S. 6,694,386
Transportation Walter B Mccormick American Trucking Association, Bryan Cave 6,260,000
Transportation Susan H Lent Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 6,100,000
Transportation Eugene Patrone Kessler & Associates Business Services, Washington Group 5,627,000
Commerce Jack Faris National FederationOf Independent Business 5,188,370
Treasury Jeff A Tassey Williams & Jensen 4,840,000
HUD Anne Canfield Canfield & Associates 4,325,000
HHS Howard Cohen Greenberg Traurig 4,140,000
HHS Dan Boston Federation Of American Hospitals 4,000,000
Interior William P Jarrell Boeing Co, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds 3,860,000
Treasury Les Brorsen Ernst & Young 3,443,860
Energy Don R Duncan Conocophillips 3,387,712
HHS Linda E Tarplin Ob-C Group LLC 3,360,000
Labor Bobby J Jackson National Mining Association 3,040,000
USTR Andrew Shoyer Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy 2,340,000
Transportation Duncan C Smith Dyer Ellis & Joseph 2,340,000
Energy Gary G Ellsworth Usec Inc 2,320,000
Interior Cy Jamison Jamison & Sullivan 1,910,000
Interior William P Horn Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot 1,902,000
Commerce David A Metzner American Continental Group 1,750,000
Justice Jerris Leonard Hopkins & Sutter 1,590,000
Interior Marc Racicot Bracewell & Patterson 1,511,000
Energy John C Tuck Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell 1,480,000
Energy Alex Flint Johnston & Associates 1,475,000
Agriculture John R Block International Foodservice Distributors Association 1,400,025
Commerce Dirk Van Dongen National Association Of Wholesaler-Distributors 1,333,789
Energy Gregg Renkes Renkes Group 1,100,000
Treasury Alan M Kranowitz National Association Of Wholesaler-Distributors 892,054
Agriculture Tim Hammonds Food Marketing Inst 880,000
FCC Richard E Wiley Wiley Rein & Fielding 870,000
Treasury Dan Renberg Arent Fox, Ghl Inc, Renberg Strategies 700,000
Treasury Daniel M Price Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy 700,000
USTR Daniel M Price Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy 700,000
Commerce Cynthia Sandherr Enron Corp 680,000
USTR Ron Sorini Sandler Travis & Rosenberg 670,000
Transportation Michael E Korens Sunrise Research Corp 520,000
Justice Joseph E Digenova Digenova & Toensing 520,000
Agriculture Clayton Yeutter Hogan & Hartson 460,000
Justice Monty Tripp Hill & Knowlton, Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates 460,000
Transportation Becky Weber Peyser Associates 452,000
USTR Kevin Brosch Dtb Associates LLP 450,000
Interior William Jarrell Boeing Co, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds 440,000
Justice Barbara Olson Balch & Bingham 400,000
Transportation William T Coleman O’Melveny & Myers 370,000
Agriculture Mary Colville National Chicken Council 360,000
Energy Howard Baker Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell 360,000
Interior Gary J Taylor International Association Of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 345,000
USTR Kevin M Dempsey Dewey Ballantine 340,000
Agriculture Barry D Sackin American School Food Service Association 340,000
USTR Gary N Horlick O’Melveny & Myers 300,000
Transportation Frank K Turner American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association 280,000
Justice Victoria Toensing Digenova & Toensing 260,000
Justice Robert A Mcconnell Hawthorne & York International 260,000
Veterans Robert W Spanogle American Legion 240,000
Energy Michael J Flannigan Kennecott Services Co 240,000
Labor Gary Visscher American Iron & Steel Inst 205,000
FCC Bruce P Mehlman Cisco Systems 200,000
EPA Dale Moore National Cattlemens Beef Association 200,000
Agriculture Jack Eberspacher National Association Of Wheat Growers 160,000
Treasury Joseph L Seidel Williams & Jensen 140,000
Transportation David Girard-Dicarlo Blank Rome Government Relations LLC 140,000
Veterans David E Woodbury Amvets National Headquarters 140,000
Energy David N Parker American Gas Association 120,000
Transportation Diane Steed Coalition For Vehicle Choice 120,000
Commerce Larry Pressler O’Connor & Hannan, Pressler Group, Alcalde & Fay 120,000
Interior Malcolm Wallop Western Strategy Group 120,000
USTR Sam M Gibbons Gibbons & Co 120,000
USTR Mark S Mcconnell Hogan & Hartson 90,000
Justice John Roberts Hogan & Hartson 80,000
Justice George J Terwilliger White & Case 80,000
Interior Steve Griles National Environmental Strategies 60,000
Justice Thomas Patten Latham & Watkins 40,000
HHS Susan McNally National Association Of Community Health Centers N/A
Commerce Paul Johnson Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations N/A
Transportation Randi Hutchinson Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, LLP N/A
Justice Jose Fuentes Morgan Meguire N/A
Agriculture Chandler Keys Public Lands Council N/A

Registered Lobbyists who are Bush Mavericks, Pioneers & Rangers and Their Activity

M-P-R FName MI LName Affiliate Lobby Expenditures
Pioneer Jack A Abramoff Greenberg Traurig 26,200,000
Pioneer John Kelly Microsoft Corp 23,560,000
Pioneer Thomas R Kuhn Edison Electric Institute 18,053,000
Pioneer Bill Paxon Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 14,420,000
Pioneer Jack N Gerard National Mining Association 12,000,000
Pioneer Charles N Kahn Federation Of American Hospitals 8,080,000
Ranger Ray Cole Van Scoyoc Associates 7,210,000
Pioneer Mary Kate Johnson Cassidy & Associates 5,830,000
Pioneer Ronald Kaufman Dutko Group 5,402,550
Pioneer Kirk Blalock Fierce & Isakowitz 3,680,000
Pioneer Judy Black Evans Capitol Group 3,470,000
Pioneer Les Brorsen Ernst & Young 3,443,860
Maverick Thomas Worrall Rhoads-Weber Shandwick Government Relations 2,660,000
Pioneer David Pringle Aflac 2,048,000
Pioneer Tillie K Fowler Holland & Knight 2,020,000
Pioneer David A Metzner American Continental Group 1,750,000
Pioneer Andrea Fischer Newman Northwest Airlines, Inc. 1,404,000
Ranger Dirk Van Dongen National Association Of Wholesaler-Distributors 1,333,789
Ranger Richard F Hohlt Hohlt, Richard F. 1,303,150
Ranger Barclay T Resler Coca-Cola Co 1,280,000
Pioneer Kevin P McMahon TRW 952,000
Pioneer Jeffrey Ballabon Channel One Network 910,000
Pioneer Charles L Grizzle Grizzle Co 770,000
Ranger Keith Weikel HCR-Manor Care 760,000
Ranger Wayne L Berman Berman Enterprises 750,000
Pioneer Mark A Holman Blank Rome LLP 700,000
Pioneer David K Rehr National Beer Wholesalers Association 672,000
Pioneer Edward D Kratovil UST 640,000
Pioneer Paul Welday Strategic Federal Affairs 402,000
Pioneer Alfonse D’Amato Park Strategies, LLC 400,000
Ranger Robert T Grand Barnes & Thornburg 280,000
Pioneer Kent R Hance Hance Scarborough Wright 270,000
Ranger Thomas Loeffler Arter & Hadden 240,000
Pioneer John M Tipps Walker Bryant Tipps & Malone 225,000
Ranger Lanny Griffith Policy Impact Strategic Communications 220,000
Pioneer Alberto Cardenas Tew Cardenas LLP 160,000
Pioneer John Etchart Gallatin Group 155,000
Ranger David Girard-Dicarlo Blank Rome Government Relations LLC 140,000
Ranger Robert Leebern Troutman Sanders Public Affairs Group 140,000
Pioneer Thomas P Marinis Vinson & Elkins 140,000
Ranger William Kilberg Gibson Dunn & Crutcher 100,000
Pioneer Michael Govan Legacy Group 80,000
Pioneer Molly Bordonaro Gallatin Group 65,000
Pioneer Annie Presley Mckellar Group 34,500
Pioneer Charles Black BKSH & Associates 20,000
Pioneer John E Thrasher Southern Strategy Group 20,000
Pioneer Carl Buchholz Blank Rome Government Relations LLC N/A
Ranger Michael Hightower Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Florida N/A
Pioneer James Langdon Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld N/A
Ranger Stephen Payne Payne, Stephen N/A
Pioneer Timothy Powers Artemis Strategies N/A
Pioneer J Warren Tompkins BKSH & Associates N/A

Lobbyists who met with Kerry and Their Contributions

First Name Last Name Lobbying Registrant Donations to Kerry
Hector Alcalde Alcalde & Fay 1,750
Wright Andrews Butera & Andrews 2,000
Charles Baker Dewey Square Group 3,940
Richard Bates Disney Worldwide Services 1,500
Norman Brownstein Brownstein Hyatt & Farber 6,000
Jack Ferguson Ferguson Assoc, Jack 4,000
Barry Gottehrer Gottehrer & Co 1,500
Lloyd Hand Verner Liipfert Bernhard Mcpherson & Hand 5,750
Lester Hyman Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman 8,250
Harold Ickes Ickes & Enright Group Inc 1,000
Dennis Kanin Foley Hoag & Eliot 7,000
Michael Kempner MWW Group 4,000
Paul Mattera Liberty Mutual Insurance Co 4,500
John Merrigan Piper Rudnick 16,250
George Mitchell Verner Liipfert Bernhard Mcpherson & Hand 1,000
Charles Moneypenny Transport Workers Union Of America 3,500
Ralph Nurnberger Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds 1,500
George Olsen Williams & Jensen 3,500
Jonathan Orloff Cassidy & Associates 2,250
Wayne Pacelle Humane Society Of The U.S. 250
John Podesta Center For American Progress 1,500
Paul Quinn Wilkinson Barker & Knauer 3,000
John Raffaelli Washington Group 4,000
Ann Richards Verner Liipfert Bernhard Mcpherson & Hand 1,000
Robert Sachs Natl Cable & Telecommunications Assn 5,375
Ivan Schlager Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom 5,000
Riley Temple Halprin Temple 2,450
Total 101,765
The employers of most of the lobbyists Kerry listed meeting with were not included in his voluntary disclosure. Therefore, the Center was only able to verify the individuals as donors above.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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