Lobbyists Look for a Friend in U.S. Senate

Mar 07, 2010

Lobbyists Look for a Friend in U.S. Senate

McCoshen: Thompson has “the right people in the room.”


MADISON- Yesterday, Republican “Uber-Lobbyist” Bill McCoshen went on Mike Gousha’s “UpFront” TV program and all but announced that Tommy Thompson is running for U.S. Senate, saying “this is the most serious I’ve seen him.”


McCoshen said Thompson has “the right people in the room,” and “I’d want the people around me that he’s got around him right now.” He didn’t say who those “people” were.


“Who’s in the room? Corporate lobbyists,” said Mike Tate Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “Where is the room? Washington D.C. Tommy’s campaign is off to a really bad start and it’s only going to get worse because the last thing Wisconsin voters want is a friend of special interests in the U.S. Senate.”


As the Associated Press reported in 2007, McCoshen signed a “secret agreement” with investors in an Indian Gaming casino in Kenosha. The deal, initially signed in 1997 and revised in 2000, called for the firm to receive $4.5 million once the project was approved by Thompson and then $42 million over the next several years for what a report by state gaming investigators called virtually no work. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has also reported that “As a lobbyist, he also has represented many controversial firms, including liquor interests, the auto title loan industry, a video lottery firm and Wal-Mart.”


News reports last week revealed that one of Thompson’s colleagues at the DC lobbying shop he works for,  Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld,said, “lots of people in Washington” want him to be Wisconsin’s next Senator. For his own part, Thompson told reporters that the election would be decided by issues “that are not that particular to Wisconsin.”


Bob Wood, a former Thompson operative and current President of Washington’s most elite GOP lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith, Rogers, hasregistered websites for Thompson’s campaign and McCoshen said they are all planning to set up an exploratory committee in the coming weeks so and that he expects Thompson to announce his candidacy at the Republican convention in May. An exploratory committee would allow Thompson to raise money from many of the corporate interests he represents. Last week, Politico reported that Thompson has already collected over $200,000 in pledges from donors.

Thompson has spent the last five years as Washington DC insider who has made millions of dollars working on behalf of special interests including health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the finance industry. Thompson recently told the media on camera he doesn’t know how many corporate interests he works for.