Crime/Corruption

Revolving door spits out a Koch lobbyist for McConnell’s ‘policy chief’

The road to personal riches and political influence in Washington, D.C., is well trod. From Congress to K Street and back. From the White House to K Street and back. From numerous executive branch appointments to K Street and back. It’s called “the revolving door.” (If you’d like a close look at how many former government employees and members of Congress have been seduced by the fat purses at K Street, the good folks at the Center for Responsive Politics will provide you details.)

Yes, I know: This isn’t news. It’s historical; it has happened for generations. It rarely draws the attention it ought to. (Hear that, CNN? New York Times? Washington Post? Network news? Get off the dinner party circuit, risk losing your access to the powerful, and dig into these people.)

But every now and then, a door revolves and disgorges something so egregious that any hope, any last shred of hope, that decent, fair, legislatively productive government is possible fades to black.

Meet Hazen Marshall (here and here). You can see in his LinkedIn profile that he’s “revolved” before.

Marshall is now policy chief for Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, writes Lee Fang at The Intercept.

Marshall, who left his partnership at the Nickles Group, has a new job. Writes Fang:

After winning reelection and control of the U.S. Senate, Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appointed Hazen Marshall, a lobbyist for Koch Industries, as his new policy chief.

Marshall, whose lobbying background Roll Call described on [last] Monday, began working as McConnell’s policy director earlier this year. Marshall previously served as a partner with the Nickles Group, where he represented clients including Koch Industries, AT&T, Cigna, Exxon Mobil, Medtronic, Exelon, Comcast, the American Hospital Association and Wal-Mart.

And it gets worse (my judgment, not Fang’s). It’s a travesty spawned by whom Marshall formerly served and whom he serves now:

Records show Marshall worked on behalf of Koch Industries to lobby on tax credit legislation as well as against S.J. Res. 19, a resolution seeking to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Koch Industries’ lobbying team disclosed spending over $13 million to influence the federal government last year. Executives from Koch Industries’ lobbying subsidiary, Koch Companies Public Sector, also help to manage a sprawling network of think tanks, internship programs and campaign-oriented nonprofits.

When McConnell no longer needs his new “policy chief,” I wonder where Marshall will end up? Or return to?

How can good government — responsive to the needs of all rather than the wants of the very few — be possible in this atmosphere? Given Marshall’s work history, is it likely that as “policy chief” he’ll advise McConnell to adopt a policy favoring negotiation and compromise that leads to good legislation rather than obstructionism and favoritism?

On a separate note, Fang ends his post with this:

Last June, McConnell made an appearance at the private donor summit organized by Koch Industries’ owners, Charles and David Koch.

“I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David, for the important work you’re doing,” McConnell said, according to the Huffington Post. “I don’t know where we’d be without you.” [emphasis added]

I wonder who McConnell meant by we. I’ll bet it wasn’t you or me. In other words, with revolving-door staff appointments like Marshall, we’re just fucked.

h/t Lee Fang

photo credits:

McConnell, Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Marshall, his LinkedIn profile