The best gov. money can buy.

Nurev at Nurev at
Fri Jul 3 21:04:57 PDT 1998



Dear Special Interest,

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==================================================================== Govt. Officials Return as Lobbyists

By JONATHAN D. SALANT .c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - When the Treasury Department proposed new regulations affecting U.S. companies with overseas operations, Price Waterhouse assembled a coalition of high-powered companies to block them. Leading the charge was Kenneth Kies, who had recently quit as chief of staff of Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation.

Hallmark Cards and the Coca-Cola bottlers were part of a second group, beyond one that included Philip Morris, General Electric and IBM, formed to fight the rules. Heading that second effort was Daniel Berman, fresh from three years as the Treasury Department's deputy international tax counsel.

They are among more than 300 former government or congressional officials who in the last 18 months left government posts for lucrative jobs lobbying for industries they once oversaw, an Associated Press computer analysis of lobbying disclosure reports showed.

The list includes Linda Hall Daschle, former Federal Aviation Administration deputy administrator, who counts Northwest Airlines, American Airlines and the nation's biggest commercial airplane maker, Boeing, among her clients; and former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, who represents the New York City Council and a hospital group.

Hundreds of additional former government officials, who left office before 1995, also are on the lobbying rolls.

``They are basically colleagues calling up,'' said Charles Lewis, a critic of Washington's revolving-door phenomenon. ``That's 100 times better than some outside group calling up. That's what the revolving door is all about,'' said Lewis, director of the Washington-based watchdog group Center for Public Integrity.

Kies and Berman got Treasury to delay until Jan. 1, 2000, rules that would stop American companies from reducing their foreign taxes and deferring their U.S. taxes by shifting money among their overseas affiliates.

``What was a little awkward was I had a lot of the responsibility (at Treasury) for moving the law in the general direction that this Treasury effort was going,'' Berman said. ``Here I was suggesting it should be reversed. Had I still been at Treasury, I would have opposed this initiative internally.''

Kies, who said he didn't lobby Congress on the issue, said his background offered no advantages.

``It only helps in the sense that they might think we know what we're talking about,'' Kies said. ``I'm not a plumber going to talk to Treasury about tax policy. But if you don't have good arguments, about the only good thing you're going to get is a nice handshake.''

Robert McIntyre, director of the labor-funded research group Citizens for Tax Justice, which supported the Treasury rules, said Kies' relationship with key tax writers got his message across. ``If he didn't do it himself, he sent somebody else with a 'Ken Kies sent me' sign,'' McIntyre said.

Some restrictions limit former government officials in the lobbying field. President Clinton began his presidency by imposing a moratorium prohibiting senior staff from lobbying their agencies for five years after leaving the administration.

Former members of Congress cannot lobby ex-colleagues for a year after leaving office. Nor can senior Senate and House staffers.

But with the waiting period expiring, lawmakers who did not seek re-election in 1996 have registered to lobby their former colleagues.

Rep. Jack Fields, R-Texas, who supervised the overhaul of the telecommunications industry as a House subcommittee chairman, listed GTE Corp. among his lobbying clients. Former Senate Energy Committee Chairman J. Bennett Johnston, D-La., now lobbies for the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Sometimes the revolving door makes a 360-degree turn. Charles (Chip) Kahn went from minority health counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee to the Health Insurance Association of America, where he developed the ``Harry and Louise'' ads credited with helping kill Clinton's health care plan.

When the Republicans captured the House, he became staff director of the Ways and Means health subcommittee. He then returned to the Health Insurance Association, and in February registered to lobby.

Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., said he plans to introduce legislation to increase the waiting period to five years.


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