Washington’s Co-opting Culture

The culture in Washington spawns reckless spending and fuels the growth in government.  Despite the desire for change, the old bulls in Washington continue to embrace the status quo.  Today, Roll Call (subscription req’d) reports that two ex-Senators are joining a high-profile lobbying firm:

Even though ex-Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) announced this week that they had joined the lobbying practice at Arent Fox, the duo didn’t go there as a package deal. They just happened to end up there together.

The two will be senior policy advisers in the shop’s government relations practice, and Dorgan will be co-chairman of the group, along with former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.).

They clarified, however, they have no intent to lobby and that they’ll have a lot on their plates:

Bennett formed the Bennett Consulting Group, with offices in Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City and Shanghai. Dorgan will chair a new program at the Aspen Institute and will serve as a visiting professor at Georgetown University.

Washington’s inside cultures is alive and well.  To further the point, Mike Allen passes along this interesting tidbit in POLITICO’s Playbook:

SPOTTED, lunching with Trent Lott at Johnny’s Half Shell: Sen. Roy Blunt.

Lott, of course, is a former Senate Majority Leader turned lobbyist who infamously dismissed the new wave of conservatives coming to Washington, saying, “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”

America will face many challenges this year, but one of the most difficult will be ensuring that the interests of the Washington Establishment do not trump the interests of the American people.

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