Environmental groups and open Internet activists are not happy with President Barack Obama's pick to lead his 2012 political campaign. That is probably because the president has picked a lobbyist that represented the NBC Universal / Comcast merger and the Keystone XL pipeline. The lobbyist in question is Broderick Johnson of the lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP. According to U.S. House of Representatives records, Johnson lobbied our elected officials to “support submission of a presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline” in the final quarter of 2010.
"President Obama ran for office in 2008 promising that the days of lobbyists setting the agenda in Washington were over, yet now he’s hired a top oil pipeline lobbyist into his campaign,” Friends of the Earth campaigner Kim Huyn said in a statement. “This is a deeply troubling development. A lobbyist who has taken corporate cash to shill for this dirty and dangerous pipeline now has even more opportunity to whisper into the President’s ear."
On Oct. 6, Friends of the Earth and the Center for International Environmental Law and Corporate Ethics International amended a Freedom of Information Act request to include a request for State Department documents involving Johnson and other pipeline lobbyists. Johnson's employer Bryan Cave earned more than $1 million from 2009-2011 from lobbying on behalf of TransCanada.
Johnson also pushed Comcast’s plan to merge with NBC Universal at the Federal Communications Commission. Brian Cave LLP received earned at least $440,000 in lobbying income from Comcast from 2009-2011, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Johnson is listed on the House disclosure forms throughout that period.
The Comcast merger was approved in early 2011. Later that year, Comcast hired FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker as the new Comcast vice president for government affairs. Attwell strongly supported the merger.
While activists might be upset that Johnson is playing a key role in the president's re-election campaign, it should be noted that he worked for the campaign during the 2008 election and also served as a deputy assistant to the President for legislative affairs in the Clinton White House.
Source: Minesotta Independent
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