Sunday, November 15, 2009

Joe Biden Gets the Last Laugh

During his first presidential campaign, in 1987, Joe Biden took a lot of heat for not crediting British politician Neil Kinnock when quoting or paraphrasing some of his remarks. Yesterday Robert Pear noted in the New York times ("In House, many spoke with one voice -- lobbyists'") that a number of congressional representatives added remarks to the Congressional record, remarks that were written by a lobbyist. There were two basic statements prepared, one for Republicans and one for Democrats.

The e-mail messages and their attached documents indicate that the statements were based on information supplied by Genentech employees to one of its lobbyists, Matthew L. Berzok, a lawyer at Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok who is identified as the “author” of the documents. The statements were disseminated by lobbyists at a big law firm, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

The only Pennsylvania name mentioned was Rep. Bob Brady.

Mr. Brady’s chief of staff, Stanley V. White, said he had received the draft statement from a lobbyist for Genentech’s parent company, Roche.

“We were approached by the lobbyist, who asked if we would be willing to enter a statement in the Congressional Record,” Mr. White said. “I asked him for a draft. I tweaked a couple of words. There’s not much reason to reinvent the wheel on a Congressional Record entry.”

Excluding the fact that the Congressional Record is supposed to be the official record of what happens in Congress, is there anyone out there who could call their congressional rep, ask for something to be placed in the Record, and have it happen?

(h/t Elbendera on twitter)

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