In a February 1 Politico article, "Democratic Congressman Tries to Force Firing of GOP Lobbyists," congressional reporter Patrick O'Connor reported that Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and other "Texas Democrats in the House are pressuring" the Texas Department of Transportation "to fire two Republican lobbyists in an episode that echoes the heavy-handed GOP tactics Democrats criticized when they were in the minority." However, later in the same article, O'Connor reported that Green "also raised questions about the state agency's recent hiring of two Democratic lobbyists" and "suggested that the agency should sever its ties" with them -- undermining his suggestion in the first paragraph that the Democrats' tactics are reminiscent of Republican partisanship.
O'Connor also wrote that the "recent struggle over the lobbying contracts is reminiscent of when Texan Tom DeLay, then the House majority leader, wielded a strong hand over state politics, the Texas delegation and the House." DeLay and conservative activist Grover Norquist presided over the so-called K Street Project, an initiative to track the political affiliations of lobbyists and pressure lobbying firms to reward Republican lobbyists while shutting out Democrats.
According to The Politico:
Texas Democrats in the House are pressuring a state agency to fire two Republican lobbyists in an episode that echoes the heavy-handed GOP tactics Democrats criticized when they were in the minority.
Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, is leaning on the Texas Department of Transportation to end its contracts with Republican lobbyists -- including a former Tom DeLay staffer -- at Chad Bradley & Associates and the Federalist Group, both based in Washington.
The fight is the first public flap over Republican lobbying contracts since Democrats took control of Congress. During last year's elections, Democrats campaigned against what they called the GOP's "Culture of Corruption" as a way to highlight the party's close ties to lobbyists.
Green, a member of the House Ethics Committee, says his opposition to the contracts with Republican lobbyists is purely philosophical -- that the state should not spend taxpayer funds on outside lobbyists when it has 34 members of Congress to advocate on its behalf.
In fact, he has also raised questions about the state transportation agency's recent hiring of two Democratic lobbyists -- one of whom, Garry Mauro, was trounced in the Texas governor's race in 1998 by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
The recent struggle over the lobbying contracts is reminiscent of when Texan Tom DeLay, then the House majority leader, wielded a strong hand over state politics, the Texas delegation and the House.
O'Connor went on to note:
In that e-mail and in another sent Jan. 24, Wallace singled out Drew Maloney of the Federalist Group, who is listed on both contracts with the two state agencies.
Maloney worked for DeLay when the congressman was Republican whip and has contributed to GOP candidates in Texas. He has amassed a broad collection of clients since leaving the Hill, and he was subcontracted by Association Strategies, a Texas firm, to do work for the Texas Department of Transportation in 2005.
In the e-mail, and in a Jan. 24 letter from Green to Perry, the congressman and his aide also suggested that the agency should sever its ties with Mauro and Moore as well. Moore did not respond to requests for comment.