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The Midmorning Refill: Freshmen lawmakers waste no time hitting K Street up for cash

Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by Pranav Prakash.

If you read one thing today . . .

Wouldn’t it be great if all of these “outsiders” who campaign against “business-as-usual” would actually do things differently when they arrive as newly-minted members of Congress? Alas, the WashPo’s Dan Eggen says that the incoming freshmen are already awash in K Street cash. A preliminary tally of contributions collected since the election shows that newly elected House members have raised at least $2 million:

The aggressive fundraising efforts underscore the financial pressures facing new members of Congress even before they take their seats. The contributions also represent a symbolic challenge for the Republican class of 2010, many of whom gained office by running against the ways of official Washington and monied interests.

“The lobbyists are all saying, ‘Welcome to Washington; let me help pay off your debt,'” said Nancy Watzman, who tracks political fundraisers for the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group. “It’s particularly interesting when so many of this year’s freshmen were running against Washington. But as soon as they get elected, they come to Washington and put out their hand.”


Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips says if the GOP establishment is unwilling to fully embrace the Tea Party, then the simple solution would be to take over the Republican Party. Phillips has written Sarah Palin, urging her to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“We need you as Chairman of the RNC. You have shown in the past no hesitation to take on the establishment. You did it in Alaska,” Phillips writes in the letter. “If we end up with establishment control of the GOP and their support for an establishment candidate in 2012, Obama and the socialists will have won…We need someone who will put conservatives in control of the party apparatus, not RINOs.”