As President Barack Obama began his first term in January 2009, an Arizona Indian tribe saw a long- awaited opportunity to jumpstart a plan to build a 225,000- square-foot casino not far from the Cardinals’ football stadium.
Mandatory ethics training this year for the 138 members of the Kentucky legislature features a lecture by Jack Abramoff, a convicted felon at the center of Washington’s biggest lobbying corruption scandal.
On an April morning, Howard Marlowe started his day walking the byzantine hallways of the Capitol with the same goal he has had for 35-plus years: to try and persuade people to do something they’d rather not do.
As I built what became the nation’s largest individual lobbying practice -- with 40 employees at its peak -- I remained the only lobbyist in the firm who had not previously worked on Capitol Hill. Former Congress members and staff are everywhere on K Street, the lair of the lobbying world. Why? Because they have access.
Eric Holder, attorney general under President Barack Obama, has prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.
Most attention-getting political corruption stories are small bore, like a Louisiana congressman stuffing $90,000 in bribes in his freezer or super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff wringing favors from members of Congress with a skybox and 18 holes at St. Andrews.