Ron Johnson Goes Washington…Again

Sep 26, 2010

Multimillionaire Johnson Raises Campaign Cash from DC Lobbyists and Corporate Special Interests

MADISON —U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson is scheduled to raise campaign cash in Washington DC this Wednesday. Johnson, a multimillionaire plastics CEO, has not only bankrolled his campaign with his family fortune, he has raised money from Washington D.C. lobbyists that represent corporate special interests.

“Ron Johnson is standing with Washington DC lobbyists and corporate special interests,” said Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “There can be no doubt who Johnson will be a voice for in Washington — not the people of Wisconsin. Johnson will represent the DC lobbyists and corporate special interests that already have too much power and influence in Washington. He is their friend and he will be their friend in the U.S. Senate.”

This week’s fund-raising trip will be held at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and hosted by Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who has served in Congress since 1986 and is the son of a former U.S. Representative.

Senator Feingold was recently ranked by Washingtonian Magazine as the number one enemy of lobbyists in Washington. The magazine wrote of Feingold, “Still the body’s chief anti-lobbying crusader.”

Washington DC lobbyists representing BP, Wall Street and Big Pharma have already given Johnson campaign cash.

Ron Johnson’s DC Lobbyists:

Roy Coffee – Principal at Coffee & Associates ($500): Coffee specialized in lobbying for foreign companies seeking to overturn sanctions against Iran during the Bush Era. Coffee was deputy campaign manager on former President George W. Bush’s first campaign for governor in Texas and later moved to Washington DC and was considered Bush’s “eyes and ears” in K Street and the lobbying world, according to Roll Call. Coffee and an associate were the subject of the article because of their bizarre connections to some of Washington’s dirtiest lobbying scandals:  “Roy Coffee and David DiStefano, have been connected to a foreign company’s attempt to work around U.S. sanctions against Iran and sell airplane parts to that nation – an attempt that centered on U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican accused in lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s recent plea agreement of accepting bribes. The two lobbyists were hired in 2003 by a pair of businessmen with résumés out of a James Bond movie. One, a Syrian gambler nicknamed “The Fat Man,” made his fortune in Middle East arms deals. The other, a felon, was banned from East Coast racetracks in the 1980s for his connections to organized crime and has a Tennessee rap sheet for trying to defraud Elvis Presley.”

Daniel Meyer – Senior Vice President at The Duberstein Group Inc. ($500) Meyer’s shop was paid $100,000 this year to lobby for BP as the Big Oil company has attempted to fight added oversight after the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Meyer is one of the lobbyists working on the BP account. He is a former chief of staff to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Steven J. Hart – Chairman and CEO of Williams & Jensen PLLC ($500): Hart’s firm lobbies for insurance firms, big pharma, and the financial industry (including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Hart also lobbies for Enbridge, the oil company that recently spilled oil into a river leading to Lake Michigan. According to his bio, “Mr. Hart has been named one of Washington’s top lobbyists by Washingtonian magazine and The Hill and one of the top fund-raisers by National Journal.”

Aleix Jarvis – Director of Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock ($1,000): Jarvis, a fund-raising bundler for McCain, was scrutinized in 2008 because he lobbied on behalf of the European Aeronautic Defense & Space Company (EADS).  EADS received a controversial air force tanker deal after McCain had advocated for a change to the contracting requirements that made it disadvantageous to EADS. 

Eric M. Ueland – Vice President at The Duberstein Group Inc. ($500):  Ueland served as chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.  He left Capitol Hill to lobby for automobile, financial, retail, health, telecom, and aerospace clients, including, GM, Goldman Sachs, and BP.

Just like his last fund-raising trip to DC, the Washington-DC-based professional fund-raising firm, the Bellwether Group, is organizing Johnson’s latest fund-raiser. When Johnson last attended a fund-raiser held by the organization in July, the hosts included Washington D.C. lobbyists who have lobbied the federal government more than 2,500 times on issues for special interests such as the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, Society of the Plastics Industry, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, the Oxygenated Fuels Association, and others who have an extensive history lobbying on behalf of the health insurance industry.

The Bellwether Group made a reputation raising money for Congressman Tom Feeney, who lost his seat after he became engulfed in the largest Washington D.C. lobbying scandal in history. Feeney accepted a Scottish golf trip from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and was named one of the most corrupt members of Congress four times by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.