The first question any Virginia Republican Congressional candidate should face today: Are you signing on to the GOP’s Pledge to America? Not only is it less exciting to read than a credit card agreement, the pledge would add more than $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years. As Ezra Klein writes, “It is a document with a clear theory of what has gone wrong — debt, policy uncertainty, and too much government — and a solid promise to make most of it worse.” Even GOP bloggers are calling it “dreck.”
But there’s one more reason that it’s so critical we know where candidates like Robert Hurt, Scott Rigel & Frank Wolf stand on the “Pledge”: It was written by someone who this year lobbied for the very same corporations that brought us the Great Recession, $4 a gallon gas & the largest health care fraud settlement ever:
In a draft version of The Pledge that was being passed around to reporters before the official release, the document properties list “Wild, Brian” as the “Author.” A GOP source said that Wild — who is on House Minority Leader John Boehner’s payroll — did help author the governing platform that the party is unveiling on Thursday. Another aide said that as the executive director of the Republican leadership group American Speaking Out, Wild’s tasks were more on the administrative side of the operations.
Until early this year, Wild was a fairly active lobbyist on behalf of the firm the Nickles Group, the lobbying shop set up by the former Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Don Nickles. 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 pledge is nothing more than an oath of allegiance to big oil, dirty coal, and other special interests,” says the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Dan Weiss. Which Virginia GOP Congressional candidates will take that pledge?