Preston Gralla

PDF exposes ex big-money lobbyist as author of GOP 'Pledge to America'

September 24, 2010 3:00 PM EDT
The Republicans claim that their just-released "Pledge to America" is one in which "the people have the most say and the best ideas trump the most entrenched interests." But that pledge's author, an examination of the draft document's PDF reveals, appears to be a king of entrenched interests. The lobbying firm he previously worked for received millions of dollars from Exxon, AIG, Comcast, Pfizer, and others.

The Huffington Post reports that a draft of the PDF was circulated to reporters before its final release, and that when you right-clicked the document, "the document properties list 'Wild, Brian' as the Author."

The Huffington Post goes on to say:

A GOP source said that Wild -- who is on House Minority Leader John Boehner's payroll -- did help author the governing platform.

Wild may be on Boehner's payroll now, the Huffington Post says, but until earlier this year, he was an active lobbyist for the Nickles Group, a lobbying firm established by the former Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Don Nickles. The Huffington Post reports:

During his five years at the firm, Wild, among others, was paid $740,000 in lobbying contracts from AIG, the former insurance company at the heart of the financial collapse; $800,000 from energy giant Andarko Petroleum; more than $1.1 million from Comcast, more than $1.3 million from Exxon Mobil; and $625,000 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc.

The Huffington Post also notes that among his other previous jobs:

Wild served as a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he helped steer more than $34 million worth of lobbying activity for the business interest group.

Knowing the hand that a big-time lobbyist had in the pledge's authorship makes reading the document a particularly interesting experience. For example, Page 21 of the final document (downloadable here) has this pledge:

End TARP Once And For All

Americans are rightly outraged at the bailouts of businesses and entities that force responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior. We will cancel the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a move that would save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

AIG, which paid Wild's former lobbying firm $740,000 while he worked there, received tens of billions of dollars from TARP. A recent Congressional Oversight Panel report found that AIG received $47.5 billion in TARP funds.

Does anyone smell hypocrisy here? Or is it just business as usual in Washington, D.C.?

By the way, this is far from the first time that this kind of information in a public PDF document has revealed facts its author would rather remain hidden. Several years again, then-startup Joost accidentally leaked three months of secret plans via hidden data in a PDF.