Corporate Democrats

[posted to corp-focus, June 15]

By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

If you wonder why things never change in Washington, look no further than a report released yesterday by Russ Baker’s Real News Project (

The report documents 25 corporate Democrats — corporate consultants with strong ties to the Democratic Party leadership inside the beltway.
“Although establishment Democrats are, by and large, still more skeptical of the corporate agenda than Republicans, they have become strikingly less so,” Baker writes. “This has led to the creation of a kind of permanent corporate governance structure that is truly bipartisan. Many of the firms employing Democratic operatives have them working side-by-side with Republicans — often the same Republicans they go up against in political campaigns. In some cases, a so-called conservative Republican and a so-called liberal Democrat are full partners in the same firm.”

Case in point: Jack Quinn.

Jack Quinn served as Vice President Gore’s Chief of Staff, and later as Counsel to President Clinton. Now he is a partner in a political consulting and lobbying firm with Republican insider Ed Gillespie — Quinn Gillespie — and together, “they have represented clients who want to drill in fragile areas of Alaska, put the screws to already beleaguered American creditors, and prevent the introduction of more healthy dairy substitutes in school lunches,” Baker writes.

Democratic consultants know no bounds when it comes to the corporate feeding trough. They work for companies pushing genetically modified organisms, for Big Pharma, for credit card companies and for gambling companies.

Here are the 25 Corporate Democrats profiled in Baker’s report.

They’d make a great set of trading cards — representing Democrats who have traded in their ideals to push the corporate agenda:

Name: Edward Ayoob

Firm: Barnes & Thornburgh

Democratic connection: Former legislative counsel to Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada)

Name: Bill Andresen

Firm: Dutko Worldwide

Democratic connection: Former chief of staff to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Connecticut)

Name: R. Lane Bailey

Firm: Golin/Harris

Democratic connection: Chief of staff to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) for 12 years.

Name: Michael Berman

Firm: Duberstein Group

Democratic connection: Well-connected veteran Democrat

Name: John Breaux

Firm: Patton Boggs

Democratic connection: Former Democratic Senator from Louisiana

Name: Leslie Dach

Firm: Edelman Worldwide

Democratic connection: Former media consultant to Bill Clinton and John Kerry

Name: Ingrid Duran

Firm: D&P Creative Strategies

Democratic connection: Worked for the House Banking Committee under

Democratic control.

Name: Carter Eskew

Firm: Glover Park Group

Democratic connection: Al Gore’s chief media advisor in 2000.

Name: Phil Goldberg

Firm: Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Democratic connection: Aide to several Democratic members of Congress

Name: Joel Johnson

Firm: Glover Park Group

Democratic connection: Worked in the Clinton White House

Name: Marshall Matz

Firm: Olsson Frank & Weeda

Democratic connection: Was George McGovern’s nutrition expert.

Name: Richard Mintz

Firm: Brunswick Group

Democratic connection: Worked in Clinton’s Transportation Department and

was staff director for Hillary Clinton during the 1992 campaign.

Name: George Mitchell

Firm: Piper Rudnick

Democratic connection: Former Democratic Senator from Maine

Name: Mark Penn

Firm: Burson-Marsteller

Democratic connection: Principal pollster for Bill Clinton

Name: Ronald Platt

Firm: Buchanan Ingersoll

Democratic connection: Michigan state director for Gore-Lieberman

Name: Anthony Podesta

Firm: Podesta Mattoon

Democratic connection: Bill Clinton’s chief of staff

Name: Heather Podesta

Firm: Blank Rome

Democratic connection: Counsel to the late Congressman Robert Matsui (D-California) and to Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota) as well as a staffer for former Senator Bill Bradley (D-New Jersey)

Name: Jack Quinn

Firm: Quinn Gillespie

Democratic connection: Chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore.

Name: Thomas Quinn

Firm: Venable

Democratic connection: Worked on Democratic Presidential campaigns from

Edward Kennedy in 1980 to John Kerry in 2004.

Name: Jody Powell

Firm: Powell Tate

Democratic connection: President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary

Name: Steve Ricchetti

Firm: Ricchetti Inc.

Democratic connection: Former deputy chief of staff to Bill Clinton

Name: Anne Urban

Firm: Venn Strategies

Democratic connection: Economics adviser to Senator Joseph Lieberman


Name: Anne Wexler

Firm: Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates

Democratic connection: Top policy aide in the Carter administration

Name: Howard Wolfson

Firm: Glover Park Group

Democratic connection: Former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton

Name: Andrew Young

Firm: Goodworks International

Democratic connection: President Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations

Baker concludes that Democrats have increasingly belied their long-assumed commitment to the little guy and the average American by “cozying up to the money trough.”

“Once the Democrats turned into the opposition, key Clinton figures found a home in offering their advertising, public relations and arm-twisting skills to industry trade associations and corporations,” Baker writes in the report. “They retained their links to the party, and have lived a kind of dual life ever since, moving effortlessly from corporate work to campaign work and back. The friendliness with big business has escalated under the reign of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has assembled his own so-called ‘K Street Cabinet’ — named after the street where the lobbying hordes are headquartered.”

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter, . Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, and director of Essential Action . Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press).