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Inside the Strange History of Pardoning Turkeys

It started with lobbyists giving presidents dinner, but it spun out to an unusual tradition

(Newser) - Each year before Thanksgiving, a turkey or two is pardoned by the sitting US president—and while this tradition has become a signal that it's almost time to stuff ourselves with pie, it's also fairly new. NPR breaks down some of the puzzling aspects of the turkey pardon,...

Chair of Trump's Inauguration Committee Arrested

Tom Barrack accused of acting as agent for UAE

(Newser) - Tom Barrack, the longtime friend of Donald Trump who advised the former president's 2016 campaign and led his inaugural committee, was a better friend to the United Arab Emirates, prosecutors say. The 74-year-old was arrested Tuesday and charged with secretly acting as an agent for the UAE, Politico reports....

On Final Day, Trump Reversed 'Drain the Swamp' Order

His appointees are now free to start lobbying former agencies immediately

(Newser) - In the early days of his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order banning members of his administration from lobbying their former agencies for five years after leaving the government. The order was one of the only things Trump did to fulfill his promise to "drain the swamp,"...

NYT : Trump Hated 'the Swamp'— and Built His Own
NYT: How
Trump Made 
Millions by
Being Our

NYT: How Trump Made Millions by Being Our President

The New York Times takes another deep dive into Trump's finances

(Newser) - Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" when he ran in 2016—but Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties have become their own swamp of lobbyists, business moguls, religious groups, and foreign politicians seeking his favor as they spend millions of dollars that he turns into profits, the New York ...

Dave Matthews, Fellow Musicians Form Their Own Lobbying Group

'Artists don’t really have a seat at any table'

(Newser) - "Artists don’t really have a seat at any table" when it comes to political lobbying, manager Irving Azoff says—but that's about to change thanks to the Music Artists Coalition, a new lobbying group for recording artists that's been formed by Azoff and a group including...

Cruz Surprises: 'I AGREE WITH AOC'
Cruz Surprises:

Cruz Surprises: 'I AGREE WITH AOC'

Pair agree to partner on anti-lobbying bill

(Newser) - It's an unlikely pairing: a self-described democratic socialist and a Republican who once mocked her logic . Yet New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz found common ground Thursday, agreeing to put their heads together on a bill that would impose a lifetime ban on former members...

Cohen Cashed in as a 'Trump Whisperer'
Cohen Cashed in as
a 'Trump Whisperer'

Cohen Cashed in as a 'Trump Whisperer'

Novartis ended up paying $1.2M for one meeting

(Newser) - Michael Cohen made millions of dollars after the election as a "Trump whisperer," charging corporate clients large sums for insights into the thinking of the new administration—but it's still unclear whether his behavior was illegal or merely "swampy." Sources tell the Washington Post that...

Environmentalists Horrified by Trump's Pick to Run EPA

Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt has been busy suing the EPA

(Newser) - Environmentalists who thought Donald Trump's meeting with Al Gore might signal a more moderate environmental policy had those hopes crushed Wednesday with the news that Trump wants Oklahoma's attorney general to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt, whose official biography calls him "a leading advocate against...

House Transport Chief Dating Top Airline Lobbyist

Shuster acknowledges 'private and personal relationship'

(Newser) - A Republican congressman told off for partying with female lobbyists a few years ago appears to have settled down with just one. Bill Shuster, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been dating a top airline lobbyist since last summer, multiple sources tell Politico . Shelley Rubino is a...

TurboTax Tricks People Into Fighting Free Tax Prep
TurboTax Tricks People Into Fighting Free Tax Prep

TurboTax Tricks People Into Fighting Free Tax Prep

Lobbyist with ties to software maker plants stories with community leaders: ProPublica

(Newser) - It sounds like an uncontroversial proposal: The IRS could set up a simple, optional, online tax tool, filling out your forms automatically using info the government has on file. Yet over the past year, community leaders have been coming out of the woodwork against such a thing. Rabbi Elliot Dorff,...

Lobbyist Pens Bill to Ban Gay NFLers

'Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man'

(Newser) - The NFL might seem to have other , seemingly more pressing problems , but a Republican lobbyist has decided to first tackle gay men in the league. Jack Burkman's proposed bill, which he says was inspired by openly gay NFL prospect Michael Sam , would ban gay players from the NFL, the...

As Feds Go Digital, Paper Industry Wages Secretive War

'Consumer' group was developed by the paper industry

(Newser) - In 2011, the Social Security Administration put the kibosh on mailing paper statements to 150 million future retirees, at an annual cost savings of $72 million. But last month's budget contained language that forces the government to plan for restarting these paper mailings. Ridiculous? Not according to a group...

How Lawmakers, Lobbyists Vacation Together—Legally

Lavish fundraisers offer chance to schmooze

(Newser) - In 2007, Congress passed measures largely barring lavish lobbyist-funded trips and gatherings. But what the New York Times calls "destination fundraisers" haven't stopped, and, indirectly, they're still funded by the lobbyists, who schmooze with lawmakers in places like Napa Valley, Las Vegas, and Bermuda. The money for...

The Other NRA's Lobbyists Are Keeping Workers Poor

How the National Restaurant Association keeps wages down

(Newser) - The National Rifle Association has long been the biggest boogeyman on K Street. But there's another NRA that Michele Simon at al-Jazeera thinks deserves some scorn: The National Restaurant Association, which has conducted a "campaign of duplicitous lobbying and outright deception at the expense of the public interest....

Lobbyists' Lobbyists: Don't Call Us Lobbyists

New name: Association of Government Relations Professionals?

(Newser) - The American League of Lobbyists is tired of being stereotyped. "Everybody has that misconception that lobbyists are walking around with a pocketful of cash and that’s about it," says group head Monte Ward. In fact, these days, the group notes that lobbyists affect the political process in...

Israel Calls Up Reserves as Syria Bubbles

But its lobbyists are noticeably quiet

(Newser) - With a Western strike on Syria looking more likely by the hour, Israel mobilized some of its reservists and beefed up its missile defenses today, Reuters reports. But apart from that move, the country seemed strangely nonplussed by the furor surrounding its neighbor and longtime enemy. "Following a security...

Twitter Registers Lobbyist, Forms PAC

And yes, it has a hashtag in the name

(Newser) - DC's profound love for Twitter may be tested or cemented, with news the social media service is turning political. The company has announced it's forming its own PAC, to be named Twitter#PAC, and has registered its policy manager (and former Republican aide) William Carty as a lobbyist, the...

Obama Will Take Corporate Cash for Inaugural Parties

It's a 'symbolic reversal' after 2009 festivities: Politico

(Newser) - One way President Obama's second inauguration will differ from his first: This time, he's accepting unlimited corporate funds for parties and receptions, a rep says. He still won't take money from PACs or lobbyists, the New York Times notes, and with the economy in mind, his inaugural...

Tim Pawlenty Ditches Romney for CEO Gig

He'll head up powerful financial services lobbying group

(Newser) - Passed over for vice president , Tim Pawlenty is getting out of Team Romney altogether and cashing in: He's stepping down as co-chairman of Romney's campaign to accept a job as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in DC, the Hill...

'Pop-Up' Firms Skirt Ethics Rules, Party With Pols

Lobbyists find ways to throw convention shindigs

(Newser) - Where there's a pesky ethics rule, there's usually a way around it, and lobbyists have found a simple way to sidestep restrictions against throwing parties for lawmakers at the Republican and Democratic conventions, NBC finds. "Consulting firms" have been set up to throw parties for members of...

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