NEW YORK - June 14 - As the nation gears up for a battle over control of Congress this year and for the presidency in two years, there will be much effort to differentiate the two dominant parties. Less likely to be discussed are the ways in which the parties are alike.
A new report from the Real News Project ( http://www.realnews.org ) examines the work performed by key Democratic Party operatives who earn their "real money" helping corporations exert influence in Washington. The report raises questions about conflicts of interest that have so far escaped public attention. Consider a strategy adviser to a Democratic candidate campaigning for publicly-funded universal health insurance—an adviser who has spent years working for insurance interests vehemently opposed to such a change. That kind of scenario plays out every day along Washington's lobbyist gulch, K Street. The paradoxes are sobering, but, for the most part, they have been invisible.
To assist the public in better assessing this problem, the Real News Project has prepared short biographical sketches of 25 Democratic consultants who earn their scones and premium spread from advising, lobbying for, making ads for, or creating public relations campaigns for large corporations and trade associations.
In the course of their daily work, these consultants assist clients in attaining a wide range of objectives, such as: seeking military contracts, furthering gambling ventures, protecting industrial activities against restrictions designed to control global warming, enhancing firms' ability to impose genetically- modified food on dubious populations, holding off universal health insurance and affordable prescription drugs, protecting the aggressive tactics of giant companies like Wal-Mart, and preventing the imposition of consumer-friendly protections against misleading practices of credit card issuers.
The full report can be seen at http://www.realnews.org. That site also features a previous RealNews exclusive, Unholy Trinity: Katrina, Allbaugh and Brown. This is the remarkable behind-the- scenes story of Michael Brown and Joe Allbaugh, the men President Bush put in charge of protecting Americans against natural and manmade disasters at FEMA in the period prior to the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Real News Project is a new non-commercial, non-profit, non-partisan "production shop" for ground-breaking, transformative, independent investigative journalism. RealNews is assembling a team of experienced and conscientious journalists to produce original investigative reports on the realities behind the biggest controversies of our time. The editor-in-chief, Russ Baker (author of the above story), is an award-winning investigative journalist. The organization's board includes many respected names from the industry. RealNews invites the support and ideas of the public and the foundation community.