For your edutainment, below is a list of some of the most depraved lobbyists money can buy.
9) Chris Dodd: The former Connecticut Senator; chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. The gig comes with a $1.2 million annual salary, and complimentary tickets to the Academy Awards.
8) Billy Tauzin: The former Louisiana Congressman’s lobbying career functionally began before he left Capitol Hill. Tauzin left PhRMA in 2010, and has since completed the cycle of greed as a board member of the Louisiana Healthcare Group, which specializes in selling mandatory broccoli.
7) Richard Berman: According to a 2006 USA Today profile, Berman’s firm pulls in an annual $10 million, but “only Berman and his bookkeeper wife” know how much of that goes directly into their pockets. Berman’s clients include the usual restaurant, alcohol, tobacco, and living-wage-averse service industry suspects, with the front groups bearing creepy Orwellian names like the Minimum Wage Coalition to Save Jobs.
6) Tony Podesta: The Podesta Group’s client list reads like a who’s who of awfulness—Bank of America, Mubarak’s Egypt, British Petroleum, and nearly every other military and for-profit health care conglomerate known to man (and let’s not forget the bailed-out likes of General Motors). The firm’s yearly income jumped from a relatively meager $10 million in ’07 to nearly $30 million under Obama.
5) Haley Barbour: Barbour has been primarily a tobacco industry lobbyist (in 2001, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC was paid over $17,000 a month, plus expenses, by RJ Reynolds alone). His deep tobacco ties also explain why he enacted among the strictest tort reform measures in the nation, refused to raise taxes on cigarettes, and tried to kill his state’s youth-smoking-prevention program.
4) Michael Toscano: As one of the top lobbyists for the drone trade group Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Toscano has played a pernicious, if obscure, role in shaping federal legislation as obscure as it is pernicious. Its persistent efforts paid off in the form of the FAA Reauthorization Act, which flew through Congress on bipartisan wings in February and promises to unleash an estimated 30,000 spy drones into U.S. airspace in the next eight years so that local and federal law enforcement can track suspects (because the Fourth Amendment is SO out right now).