Monday, March 06, 2006


Lobbyists running the Burns campaign

Oh, it's all perfectly legal, to have a lobbyist run your re-election campaign.
Helena lawyer and registered lobbyist Mark Baker is heading up Burns' 2006 re-election campaign and served early on as a spokesman for the campaign. Baker is also a former Burns staffer, having worked for the senator off and on since 1989. He left in 1998 as Burns' legislative director. Baker lobbies as part of his own firm, Anderson & Baker law firm in Helena, and with the D.C. firm of Denny Miller Associates. Anderson & Baker has reported just over $3 million in federal lobbying income since 1999, records show. At least $2 million came from global telecommunications companies such as AT&T and MCI and the National Cable Television Association. During much of that time, Burns was either chairman or ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, where many laws dealing with telecommunications begin - and can die. Today, the Communications Subcommittee has been absorbed into the full Commerce Committee, of which Burns is a member.
I certainly understand why Mark Baker wants Conrad Burns to be Montana's senator. Three million in federal lobbying income? Baker owes his job to Conrad Burns. But, enmired as he in a corruption scandal, why would burns hire Baker? Does he think Montanans are that stupid? No. It's his d*mn campaign message! From his own website:
With a seat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Burns has been able to bring in over $1 billion in federal funds to the state since he took office.
Got that? He's boasting about his corruption! He's telling us he does it for Montana! A billion dollars' worth! Having a lobbyist run his campaign only reinforces his message. Thing is, it the message working? The polls don't bear it out...
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