Candidates, delegates, protesters and media aren't the only folks attending the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer. Lobbyists, by the thousands, are doing "what amounts to the only real work going on at the convention - the nonstop currying of favor of elected officials by the most powerful interests in the country," the Washington Post writes.
The Iraqi Kurdish region's "leaders try to project a united front in Baghdad and abroad, but few Kurds in the north or Arabs in the south have forgotten that" the Kurdish Democratic Party and the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan "spent four of their Saddam-free years fighting a civil war." Now, the KDP "has retained Barbour Griffith & Rogers as its lobbyist to ensure that Iraqi Kurdistan maintains its autonomy" and to push for "the return of oil-rich Kirkuk,"
It used to be that the U.S. chemical industry lobbied lawmakers in Washington. Now the White House is aggressively lobbying on the industry's behalf in Brussels, opposing new European Union regulations on chemicals. The EU's proposed Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals or REACH would require chemical makers to publicly report the potential harmfulness of their products - both for new chemicals being introduced and those already available.
Russian oil company OAO Yukos has seen hard times since the arrest on tax evasion and fraud charges of its former chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The company "is trading at a fraction of its value at the time of Mr. Khodorkovsky's arrest," and owes $3.4 billion in back taxes, according to the Russian government. "Company executives say Yukos could be driven out of business," writes the Wall Street Journal.
Last year, as the debate over a Medicare prescription-drug bill heated up, the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) sided with the Republican plan, which marked a major step toward the party's goal of privatizing Medicare and decimating employer-based health coverage. Why did AARP support the plan, which will cause millions of seniors to lose more generous employer and state-coordinated drug benefits while providing only limited help to others? Barbara T.
"The U.S. government is a marketplace too rich to ignore," writes Jeffrey Birnbaum. "For the past few years, federal discretionary spending has grown by more than 10 percent a year... In particular, security spending has taken off." PR and lobby firms have certainly noticed: "Fleishman-Hillard Inc just opened a marketing department...