The above headline is not a typo nor a headline from “The Onion” or some other satirical news outlet. The nonpartisan Center For Public Integrity (CFPI) a non-profit group, is one of our nation’s oldest non-profit investigative news organizations. Their website declares their mission: To serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.
On Tuesday, CFPI reported on a lobbying registration filing that fromer US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and former Senator John Breaux (D-LA) are now the official lead lobbysits for Russia’s state owned bank Gazpromank, for the firm Squire Patton Boggs. According to their reporting, the pair are lobbying on banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions.
Gazprombank is a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom which happns to be Russia’s largest gas producer. I’ve previously written about Gazprom, in reference to their supplying of roughly one-third of Europe’s entire natural gas supply and how that gives so much leverage to the Russians in the midst of its ongoing incursion in Ukraine. As part of its several rounds of sanctions against Russia for the aforementioned incursion in to Ukraine, the United States added Gazprombank to a list of firms already banned from participating in debt financing with US banking institutions.
CFPI also provides a brief history of the partnership between the two former Senators whom both joined a long list of former members of Congress that joined the lobbying ranks. From the article:
Lott and Breaux left public service almost a decade ago and are among more than 300 members of Congress who’ve become lobbyists, and begun petitioning former colleagues on behalf of clients, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2008, they started a lobbying firm with their sons, Breaux Lott Leadership Group, which was acquired by D.C.-lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs in 2010. Patton Boggs merged with Squire Sanders to form Squire Patton Boggs in June.
I’m absolutely appalled by this report. Two former US Senators, knowing very well that the curent adminsitration is pursuing even tougher sanctions against the aggressive Putin regime (and its oligarchial allies) have decided to put themselves in between the US Government and Vladimir Putin and for what- personal enrichment. If this were to occur during the height of the Cold War, there is no doubt in my mind that these men would be threatened with treason charges or in the very least, had their patriotism seriously questioned by their colleagues in Congress or by the President of the United States, especially Ronald Reagan. This used to be a seen as a crime, and unfortunately it seems, this type of lobbying, that is against the interests of the American people, seems to be a growing trend and certainly pays well enough.
So I ask you, how much is your patriotism worth?