Double Dipping: Fine for Ice Cream, Not for Lobbyists and Lawyers (Rep. Chris Cannon)

Double dipping for an ice cream cone is not only acceptable, but I wholeheartedly encourage it.  Double dipping in the congressional feedbag is not only unacceptable, but I have proposed legislation to end it.

My amendment to the lobbying reform bill would ONLY prevent lawyers or law firms that contract with a member or committee of the Congress, and are paid with tax dollars, from lobbying Congress; just like staffers.  Contrary to the hand wringing on K Street, my amendment would have no affect on lawyers working for individual members or campaigns, so long as those lawyers or firms are not paid with federal tax dollars.  I would also support any language necessary to soothe concerns to the contrary.

But since this is a blog, let’s be frank.  Why should the taxpayers foot the bill for an attorney or firm that costs two to three times what a staff lawyer or investigator makes?  Is Democrat staff on the Judiciary Committee and elsewhere on the Hill not competent, capable, or connected enough?  Having worked with these folks for years on Judiciary and other committees I can assure you that Democrat staff is not only capable, but while we disagree ideologically, I have found them to be tenacious, ethical, and industrious folks worth at least what the committee is paying a high priced suit.

But there is a potential conflict of interest cost that is too dangerous to continue.  The Judiciary Committee contracted with the firm of Arnold & Porter, which also represents clients with business BEFORE the committee.  One of their partners is paid for up to $250,000 to do work FOR the committee.  This doesn’t pass the “smell test