Thursday, February 16, 2006

Jerry Lewis, Never Met An Earmark He Didn't Like

Time is just out with an article on the relationship between Representative Jerry Lewis (CA-41) and Jeffrey Shockley. Shockley's lobbying firm is none other than Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez. The San Diego Union Tribune highlighted the intimate relationship between Lewis and Bill Lowery back in December.
Before Jeffrey Shockey worked for one of the most powerful committees in Congress, he was a lobbyist at one of the more successful boutique lobbying firms in Washington. Before that, you guessed it, he worked for one of the most powerful committees in Congress. In fact, Shockey, 40, has breezed so smoothly through the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying world that, critics say, it's hard to tell where one job begins and the other ends.
Shockley's career is a series of moves between jobs in Congressman Lewis' office and jobs lobbying Congressman Lewis' office.
Shockey's career is a case study in how the game works. When he left Capitol Hill for the lobbying world in 1999 — after spending more than eight years working for Rep. Jerry Lewis, a Republican from California who had chaired key subcommittees — many of his new clients, including muncipalities, hospitals and lesser-known universities, were from Lewis's district. After years of getting paid to represent them on the Hill, he was now getting paid a lot more to represent them on the Hill.
Shockley's record as a lobbyist is staggering. Though his efforts, he was able to direct over $150 million in pork barrel projects to his clients, earning himself $1.5 million in his first year as a lobbyist. And, Shockley was able to insure that his grateful clients directed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Representative Lewis and his political action committee.

Last year, Lewis' largess within the party, thanks to the efforts of lobbyists like Shockley helped Lewis achieve the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee. Lewis asked Shockey to work for the committee. Shockley accepted the job despite a 10 fold reduction in salary. But, the Shockley family won't go hungry.
Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez — where Lewis’s close friend Bill Lowery, a former California congressman, is a partner — gave Shockey a $600,000 going-away buyout, according to Shockey’s financial disclosure form. He was to receive his buyout in three $200,000 payments scheduled for February, May and August 2005 — even as he was in his committee post. The firm would also keep Shockey in the family by hiring his wife, Alexandra — another former Lewis aide — as a consulting lobbyist.
What a sweet deal this is for Lewis. No matter where Shockey works, he ends up helping raise funds for Lewis. From Shockley's perspective, no matter where he works, his take home pay is going to be substantial. It's a win, win, win situation. Well, except for the taxpayers who are covering the cost of all of Lewis' earmarks to companies that Shockley used to represent, but which are now represented by someone else, who also used to work for Lewis.
With the help of another former Lewis aide who took over some Shockey accounts at his lobbying firm, many of Shockey's more than 50 former clients have continued to land tens of millions of dollars in earmarks, courtesy of the panel Shockey now helps Lewis run.
Jerry Lewis sure knows how to rig the game in his favor.