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ANDREW WHEAT Indictment Heat Hits the Lobby BY ANDREW WHEAT ril remors from the criminal investigation into Texans for a Republican Majority some top corporate lobbyistsa crowd that is to Tom DeLay’s power what hair follicles were to Sampson’s fabled strength. Tom “the Hammer” DeLay forged his extraordinary rise from bug exterminator to U.S. House Majority Leader by relentlessly shaking down special interests. With lobbyists in his advisory “kitchen cabinet,” DeLay organized the “K Street Project” in the 1990s to help Republicans grab more special-interest money in Washington. This scheme named for the D.C. street that is home to many lobby shopsthreatens corporations and trade groups with political reprisals if they hire Democrats as top lobbyists. DeLay and his cronies realized that the GOP gets more corporate money when a Republican heads the lobby. The K Street Project was as effective as it was crass. The House ethics committee, which few other lawmakers can arouse from its slumbers, admonished DeLay in 1998 for delaying an intellectual-property vote sought by the Electronic Industries Alliance because it was run by a Democrat. The K Street Project hit Texas by 2002, when a D.C. lobby firm headed by former DeLay Chief of Staff Drew Maloney got a $360,000 state contract to promote Texas’ interests in Washington. Shortly after the disputed 2002 election, Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor-elect David Dewhurst and speakerapparent Tom Craddick all appointed leading lobbyists to their transition teams or staffs. One of the first orders of business of Craddick transition-team lobbyists Bill Miller and Bill Messer was to solicit money from hundreds of other lobbyists for Craddick. Miller drafted a plan last year to make lobbyists “part Texas Lobbyists With Multiple TRMPAC Donors Firm or Lobbyist With Multiple TRM-Donor Clients in 2002 TRM-Donor Clients in 2002 AT&T Lexmark International Amount Client Gave To TRM $20,000 000 **Akin Gump… Baker Botts El Paso Corp. $50,000 *MeadWestvaco 0 000 Gardere Wynne **Continental Airlines t$15,000 Gulf States To ota 2 0 Locke Liddell… Gulf States Toyota/Financial $250 Silver Eagle Distributors 000 HillCo Partners AT&T/AT&T Wireless $20,000 **Continental Airlines t$15,000 Mariner Post Acute Network *A1 NHC member **Toomey & Associates AT&T $20,000 Phili I Morris 2 000 Lee Ann Alexander Gulf States Toyota $250 _ *Sears Roebuck & Co. 2 000 J. Christopher Hughes Philip Morris $25,000 TX Packale Store Assoc. 1 00 Susan Longley $25,000 Albert Luna III **Continental Airlines t$15,000 Reliant $25,000 *Indicted in TRMPAC scandal. **Company or employee subpoenaed in TRMPAC scandal. tContinental pledged $15,000 worth of airfare to TRMPAC. Corporate Notes: AQNHC = Indicted TRM-donor Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, Inc. MeadWestvaco owns TRM-donor Questerra Corp. Philip Morris, then-parent of Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing, became Altria in 2002. of the Speaker’s Team” in exchange for him on the idea. material or financial support. After Mill Given the extent to which the cor er’s firm mistakenly sent this proposal to porate lobby has become an arm of the Dallas Morning News, Miller insisted powerful politicians in Washington and that he never discussed it with his friend Austin, Texans for Public Justice recently Craddick. In a rare split with the lobby, conducted a dragnet of state and federal the speaker’s office denounced Miller’s lobby filings. This search identified 11 account as “a lie.” Miller pitched Crad Washington lobby firms and 11 Texas dick on the idea in person, Craddick’s firms or solo lobbyists who worked press secretary said, but failed to sell for multiple TRMPAC donors in 2002. 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 10/22/04