February 6, 2012

Video: House GOP Huddle With Lobbyists To Plan 2012 Legislative Agenda, Rep. Walberg Refuses To Comment

Attendee arrives at the 2012 House Republican retreat
On January 21st, the two year anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the entire House Republican caucus traveled to a hotel along the Baltimore waterfront for a retreat to plan their legislative agenda this year. The timing was coincidental, but interesting given the event’s hosts. The Congressional Institute, the ostensibly “educational” organization that sponsored the event, is made up of a group of corporate lobbyists.

Republic Report attempted to attend the event. Law enforcement on orders from the retreat hosts restricted our access. But as we left, we ran into Congressman Tim Walberg (R-WI). Walberg refused to answer why his caucus was huddling with corporate lobbyists, or if the lobbyists have any influence over the agenda. Asked about the symbolism of convening such a retreat on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited corporate influence in American elections, Walberg just grinned and walked away:

According to lobbying disclosures, board members of the Congressional Institute represent, many of them present at the retreat according to journalists at the scene, represent an array of K Street clients:

Dan Meyer, a vice president of the firm Duberstein Group, represents BP, PhRMA, Health Net, Goldman Sachs, among others.
David Bockorny, a lobbyist with the Bockorny Group, represents clients including Abbott Laboratories, the Recording Industry Association, and the American Hospital Association.
Marcel Dubois represents UPS.
Bruce Gates represents tobacco giant Altria.
Arne Christenson is a top lobbyist for American Express.