Lee Fang

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Lee Fang, a freelance journalist, is the former Senior Investigator for United Republic and a former investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He has broken stories that include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign funding, the attendance of U.S. Supreme Court justices at secretive political fundraisers and the stealth efforts by lobbyists to orchestrate and control the Tea Party. Lee’s work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the Federal Election Commission. His book on the campaign to block Obama’s domestic priorities is slated for publication in late 2012.

March 25, 2014

Staffers Managing Gardner’s LNG Export Hearing Are Former Gas Lobbyists

Today, the congressional subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to hold a hearing on Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) bill to force the Obama administration to approve all application for new liquefied natural gas terminals used to export natural gas. A close look at the staffers involved with this particular subcommittee reveals that several have close ties to the LNG industry.

– Energy and Power staff counsel Patrick Currier is a former lobbyist for gas and energy companies, including the Gas Processors Association, FirstEnergy Corp, and the CCS Alliance.

– Energy and Power chief counsel Tom Hassenboehler is a former …

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March 19, 2014
Vladimir Putin embraces his business partner, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson
Vladimir Putin embraces his business partner, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson

Pundit, Politician Demands to Solve Crimean Crisis Fueled by Gas Lobby

A small group of pundits and politicians with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are using the crisis in Crimea to demand that the United States promote natural gas exports as a quick fix for the volatile situation. But such a solution, experts say, would cost billions of dollars, require years of development, and would not significantly impact the international price of gas or Russia’s role as a major supplier for the region. Rather, the move would simply increase gas prices for American consumers while enriching companies involved in the liquified natural gas (LNG) trade.

On Capitol …

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March 13, 2014

Are Prison Labor Companies Lobbying to Keep Prisoners in Jail for Nonviolent Offenses?

In recent months, a broad, cross-ideological coalition has pressed forward to reform mandatory minimum prison sentencing. In some cases mandatory minimum sentencing can lead to a lifetime in jail for nonviolent offenders. But a strange group has appeared on lobby disclosure forms reviewed by Republic Report. Prison labor companies are attempting to influence the bill, and they refuse to reveal what they’re doing and why.

The group is called the Correctional Vendors Association, an organization that represents companies that use prison labor to produce everything from furniture to clothing goods. CVA has spent $240,000 on lobbying over the past year, …

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March 12, 2014

Chevron Hires Yet Another Democratic Staffer

Republic Report has obtained an e-mail from J.J. Ong, a senior Democratic staffer to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. On Monday, Ong announced that she is leaving the committee to take a job with the “international government affairs team at Chevron here in DC, where [Ong] will be managing their government relations work for the Asia Pacific region.”

Ong has worked for five years on the committee as a senior staffer to Reps. Eliot Engel and Howard Berman.

Chevron has a number of interests in Asia, including controversial investments in Myanmar and Indonesia.

As we have reported, Chevron has close …

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March 10, 2014

Jon Kyl, Barred From Lobbying, Offers to ‘Assist’ Clients with Tax Reform

Need help navigating the proposed federal tax system overhaul? Covington & Burling, a major law-lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., sent out a client alert recently announcing that former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stands ready to assist businesses seeking the best outcome of the legislative proposal led by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

If enacted, the tax overhaul expected this year will change billions of dollars in tax credits and rates.

Kyl, however, is barred from lobbying because he left the senate last year and is still within the “cooling off period.” The Honest Leadership and Open …

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March 7, 2014

CHART: Koch Spends More Than Double Top Ten Unions Combined

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel either has no understanding of campaign finance, or is willfully misleading her readers. In either case, her column today about the Koch brothers’ political spending — which parrots a meme that has bounced around conservative blogs and websites like a bad chain e-mail — gets the facts about Koch spending versus union spending completely wrong.

In her column, “The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs,” Strassel cites a Center for Responsive Politics list to claim that unions “collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries” on political races. Of course, if …

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March 5, 2014
David Jolly

David Jolly’s Clients Won Earmarks From His Old Boss, Bill Young

David Jolly, the Republican congressional candidate vying for the special election in Florida next week, has not only made a career out of lobbying. Records reviewed by Republic Report show that Jolly’s clients won millions of dollars in taxpayer earmarks from his old boss, the late Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young (R-FL), an appropriator known for his lavish use of the earmarking process.

These earmarks contrast sharply with the claims made by Jolly that he did not build his business career through political connections to his former employer.

“I did not build my practice around Mr. Young, not in any stretch,” Jolly …

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February 27, 2014

Obama Nominates SOPA Lobbyist for TPP Trade Post

This morning, President Obama nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy U.S. trade representative. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holleyman will help lead the effort to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Notably, Holleyman is a former lobbyist who led efforts to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, when he was leader of the Business Software Alliance. The SOPA debate (along with its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the Senate) brought a spotlight on industry efforts to undermine Internet freedom through what many considered to be draconian intellectual property policy.

Critics have pointed out, …

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