Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Mom in tennis shoes gets big money from lobbyists

Patty went to D.C. as a different kind of senator, the "mom in tennis shoes." That was then. Now she is the Beltway establishment. She is up there with friendly Harry Reid in money coming from lobbyists. Seattle Times
... Today lobbyists top the list of Murray's donors as she seeks her fourth term. Among the top six Democrats in the Senate leadership, only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has collected more money than Murray from lobbyists and their firms since 2005, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that tracks money and politics. Yet even Reid receives a smaller share of his overall donations from lobbyists than Murray does. What's more, Murray's congressional colleagues now rank among her biggest financial supporters. She has received $287,700 since 2005 from "leadership" PACs, a popular but controversial vehicle for members of Congress to solicit donations that they then dole out to fellow lawmakers. It's a striking transformation for a woman whose annual Seattle fundraiser is called the "Golden Tennis Shoes Awards," a winking homage to the footwear that defined the early underdog status of the Bothell "mom in tennis shoes." And the lobbyist donations attest to the power of incumbency — even in a year when incumbency appears ripe for voter backlash.
The dedicated employees of lobbying firms plus her own "leadership PAC:"
On Murray's list of top-10 contributors are two lobbying firms. Employees at Denny Miller Associates of Washington, D.C., have given $84,200 since 2005. Miller lobbies on behalf of a wide range of clients in Washington state, including Boeing, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Swedish Medical Center, as well as defense contractors. The other firm is McBee Strategic Consulting, whose founder, Steve McBee, once worked for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton. The firm's president of Northwest operations is Rick Desimone, Murray's former chief of staff. McBee has given $58,600 since 2005 to Murray's campaign and to her PAC. M-PAC is the 16th-largest leadership PAC in the Senate, with $435,000 in contributions between January 2009 and April 2010. Murray has dipped into M-PAC to support a host of Democratic candidates and groups. Recipients include Reid, the Senate majority leader; Senate Policy Chairman Sen. Byron Dorgan; and the political-action committee of Planned Parenthood. Murray's Washington state colleague in the Senate, Maria Cantwell, is one of 13 senators who do not operate a leadership PAC. McGehee, the campaign-finance expert, believes that leadership PACs represent influence peddling at its worst: Donors give to curry favors with a lawmaker, who for the same reason then funnels the money to fellow politicians.
From Bothell? Maybe she lives there now. She started in Shoreline before it was a city and the Shoreline School District board. Her time as a "teacher" was as a typical mother in a co-op preschool; the same preschool, though not at the same time, as our daughter.

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