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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Pots, Kettles, and the Corrupting Nature of Washington

This morning I noted Steve LaTourette’s op-ed against conservatives and raised the issue of his affair with a lobbyist. Several people thought it not relevant, but I think it is completely relevant. It gives a solid example of the corrupting nature of Washington, D.C. now that a permanent political class has arisen there.

Hypocrisy is defined as “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do.” And Steve LaTourette’s article in Politico Magazine was full of it.

In 2003, multiple newspapers reported that Steve LaTourette had left his wife for his then-chief of staff, Jennifer Laptook. Jennifer proceeded to leave Congress and register to lobby, where she, according to Salon, “acquired some major Cleveland-area clients for her lobbying business almost the instant she left the representative’s staff” and touted her relationship to Congressman LaTourette on her lobbying firm’s website.

After leaving congress bemoaning the lack of Congress’s ability to govern, Congressman LaTourette and his now wife, Jennifer LaTourette, started, from scratch, the lobbying practice at the McDonald’s Hopkins law firm. In 2013, the firm pulled in $1.1 million (I’m in the wrong business) in lobbying fees. This, despite the fact that Congressman LaTourette was banned from lobbying Congress for most of 2013. LaTourette’s lucrative lobbying practice is set to exceed $1 million again in 2014. In a New York Times piece, LaTourette described “his firm’s assignment as finding approximately 20 House Republican votes for his clients, the minimum count needed, along with the Democrats in the House, to get legislation his clients want passed.”

So you see, Steve LaTourette’s presidency of the Main Street Partnership (they used to be called the Republican Main Street Partnership, but under LaTourette, they dropped the “Republican” from the name and said they’d welcome Democrats) and his advocacy for “governing” isn’t about governing at all. It’s actually explicitly about electing people to Congress (moderates) who dovetail with his policy aims (bigger government) and his private business (making money off of moderates who vote for big government). Thus, his claims that conservative groups simply exist to make money are about as hypocritical as it gets. Pot, meet kettle.

What’s truly embarrassing is the fact that there are still Republican members of Congress for whom Steve is an ally and a political Svengali. Essentially Steve, who after 18 years in Congress boasts a lifetime 67% ranking from the American Conservative Union (the lowest of all Ohio Republicans the year he left Congress) is a pusher for tax increases, bailouts, green energy subsidies, and anything else that flies in the face of conservative policy. He stands for everything the Republican Party says they do not. His existence does more harm to the Republican Party brand, and more importantly, efforts to pass conservative policy, than any tea party group could ever do.

Being a lobbyist has led to a more comfortable lifestyle for Steve and his family. In 2002, then-Jennifer Laptook bought a modest three-bedroom house in Alexandria for just under $500,000. In 2009, she bought a $1.3 million mansion in McLean with six beds and five and a half baths. Given the revenue brought in by McDonald’s Hopkins this year, particularly now that Steve is now longer prohibited from lobbying his old colleagues, perhaps they can upgrade again.

After news of his affair, multiple newspapers quoted one of Steve’s constituents saying the following:

“He was a wonderful husband and father, the best I ever saw, until he went there. I told him I was trying to get him out of the dark side, all that power and greed and people kissing up to them all the time. Now he’s one of them. All they care about is getting re-elected.”

Those words were spoken by Susan LaTourette, Steve’s ex-wife. You see – Congressman LaTourette isn’t really a role model for any member of Congress looking to save America. He’s more of a sad and cautionary tale, and his career path is one Republican members of Congress would be wise not to repeat. The permanent political class residing in Washington, D.C. is a bug in the political system our founders did not intend. Is rise infects many who live in Washington, giving way to projection of their own sins onto others because, like Gollum clinging to his precious, they are convinced everyone else wants their precious too.

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