It's getting a little humdrum noting the speed with which teabagger-supported congressfolk are proving themselves to be no different from those they criticized. Seeking -- and getting -- lobbyist money while their words to the contrary during their campaigns are still vibrating in the air.
Two weeks later, Canseco was in the heart of Washington for a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club. The event--hosted by Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.)--was aimed at paying off more than $1.1 million in campaign debts racked up by Canseco, much of it from his own pocket.
After winning election with an anti-Washington battle cry, Canseco and other incoming Republican freshmen have rapidly embraced the capital's culture of big-money fundraisers, according to new campaign-finance reports and other records.
Dozens of freshmen lawmakers have held receptions at Capitol Hill bistros and corporate townhouses in recent weeks, taking money from K Street lobbyists and other powerbrokers within days of their victories. Newly elected House members have raised at least $2 million since the election, according to preliminary Federal Election Commission records filed last week, and many more contributions have yet to be tallied.
"The lobbyists are all saying, 'Welcome to Washington; let me help pay off your debt,'" said Nancy Watzman, who tracks political fundraisers for the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group. "It's particularly interesting when so many of this year's freshmen were running against Washington. But as soon as they get elected, they come to Washington and put out their hand."
Dear Tea Party voter: You've been had.
When the good people of South Dakota voted last month to send Republican Kristi Noem to Congress, they probably believed that she would give no quarter to the lobbyists and special interest groups who enjoyed, as she put it, "throwing money at the feet of a member of Congress."
But since she defeated Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (in part by making an issue of Herseth Sandlin's marriage to a lobbyist), Noem has hired as her new chief of staff . . . a lobbyist! And on Tuesday afternoon, she was the guest of honor at a "Meet & Greet" with Washington high-rollers at the powerhouse lobbying firm Barbour Griffiths Rogers (BGR). Once these boys start throwing money at Noem's feet, she'll soon be chin deep in lobbyist greenbacks.
What's next? Finding out the earth revolves around the sun?