Oops. Mitt Romney might want to think twice about taking my earlier advice to ramp up his attacks on Rick Santorum’s Washington insider status. At least until he manages to do something about the Washington insiders inside the Romney campaign.
For a candidate running against the entrenched interests of Washington, Mitt Romney keeps an awful lot of lobbyists around.
His kitchen cabinet includes some of the most prominent Republican lobbyists in Washington, including Charles R. Black Jr., the chairman of Prime Policy Group and a lobbyist for Walmart and AT&T; Wayne L. Berman, who is chairman of Ogilvy Government Relations and represents Pfizer, the drug manufacturer; and Vin Weber, the managing partner for Clark & Weinstock.
At least 294 registered lobbyists donated a total of at least $401,000 to Mr. Romney through the end of 2011, according to a New York Times review of federal disclosure records, while an elite group of 16 bundlers, representing interests as varied as Wall Street, Microsoft and the tobacco company Altria, gathered more than $2 million worth of checks from friends and business partners for Mr. Romneys campaign.
Other lobbyists serve on one of Mr. Romneys policy advisory teams, have hosted fund-raisers for his campaign or have joined the many influential Republicans whose endorsements Mr. Romneys campaign has hailed. Among them are David Wilkins, a former United States ambassador to Canada who lobbies for the Canadian oil industry, and Stephen Rademaker, a former State Department official who lobbies for the defense contractor General Dynamics.
Come to think of it, maybe the Santorum campaign could keep this in its back pocket to attack Mitt on having Washington insiders in his campaign when Mitt attacks Santorum for being a Washington insider. Not that I’m a Santorum fan, but it makes my job easier.