Santorum, the ‘stealth lobbyist’


The headline alone was enough to make me laugh: “Santorum accuses Fox News of shilling for Romney.” This is like Madonna accusing a rival diva of lip-synching. It’s another example of why many of us use the words “Christian” and “hypocrite” interchangeably.

According to Raw Story, Santorum complained to Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade that “[Romney] has had a 10-to-1 money advantage. He has Fox News shilling for him every day. No offense, Brian, but I see it.”

Santorum should choose his words more carefully. “Shilling” might as easily describe what he did for a living after he lost his U.S. Senate seat. From ABC News:

Rick Santorum entered Congress with modest means. But not long after he left in 2006, the former two-term senator reaped the rewards of his time on Capitol Hill, earning more than $1 million last year in cash and stock for advising corporate clients, sharing his insights with social organizations, and consulting for media outlets.

“He has been, essentially, a stealth lobbyist,” said Bill Allison, editorial director for the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group. “He has been hired to try to influence policy on behalf of his clients without crossing the thresholds that would require him to report what he’s doing.”

The rural Pennsylvania politician who boasts his common man appeal has traveled a familiar path for those who have left public service, Allison said. After helping to shape policy on the Senate finance and banking committees, Santorum accepted paid consultant jobs for insurance and energy firms with key issues pending before the politician’s former colleagues.

The work has been lucrative — in 1996 he reported assets ranging from $155,000 to $475,000 on the personal financial disclosure form he filed with the Senate. The report he filed in August 2011 as he began his presidential bid show his assets are now valued between $1.9 million and $4 million, including rental properties and robust investment and college savings funds.

A shill gets paid to enthusiastically promote an entity, often without disclosing the extent of his ties to that entity. Is there a difference between a shill and an under-the-radar influence peddler such as Santorum? Maybe, but I’ll bet you’d have a hard time making the distinction to any reasonable person.

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One Response to Santorum, the ‘stealth lobbyist’

  1. Pingback: Santorum — ‘stealth lobbyist,’ or shill? | Suburban Guerrilla

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