Haley Barbour: Quit Picking on Lobbyists

Image: Haley Barbour: Quit Picking on Lobbyists

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 10:08 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Haley Barbour is thumbing his nose at the findings of the latest Gallup poll showing that Americans regard lobbyists as having the lowest honesty and ethics of any profession.

The survey, conducted Dec. 5-8, found that only 6 percent rate lobbyists as "high" or "very high" in this regard, which, according to Gallup, "is not surprising because seven in 10 Americans have said lobbyists have too much power in the U.S."

"We're shocked!" wrote Barbour and fellow lobbyist Ed Rogers in an editorial published in Politico Magazine.  "You don't have to be an expert at studying the internals and crosstabs of a poll to understand that lobbyists' work contains all the right ingredients for a cocktail of contempt."

"Lobbying is an unloved industry, with scads of lawyers, politicians and bureaucrats as well as campaign money in the mix, and everybody wants something," they continued.

Barbour is a founding partner and Rogers is chairman of BGR Group, the Washington-based lobbying firm they established in 1991.

"Everyone likes to beat up on us," they said of their chosen profession, adding, "And none more so than President Barack Obama, who grandiosely says things like: "We're going to have to change the culture in Washington so that lobbyists and special interests aren't driving the process."

"That kind of bluster doesn't bother us," Barbour and Rogers stated. "We love our jobs, but we're not expecting the thanks of a grateful nation — lobbying just doesn't have too many appealing elements for most Americans, and that won't change."

"But if you are an Obama disciple and it makes you feel more comfortable, you could always just think of us as 'Navigators,'" they said.

Barbour served as Governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012, while Rogers is a lawyer who formerly worked in the George H.W. Bush administration.

In 1993, Barbour became chairman of the Republican National Committee. The next year, Republicans captured both houses of Congress, taking the lower chamber for the first time in forty years.

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