Oops, I was wrong in my previous post.
Since yesterday (Feb 8) and my post “Newt’s Fatal Flaw”) I looked for a way out of his apparent vulnerability to a trumped-up accusation of illegal lobbying. I found one in an unlikely place – The New York Times! It appears he’s probably not within the definition of illegal lobbyist. Here’s the article:
Here’s the definition of a lobbyist who must be registered, taken directly from the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives website:
Lobbyist: Any individual (1) who is either employed or retained by a client for financial or other compensation (2) whose services include more than one lobbying contact; and (3) whose lobbying activities constitute 20 percent or more of his or her services’ time on behalf of that client during any three-month period.
The key here: no single client who takes up more than 20% of his time — so, 10 clients, at 10% each, wouldn’t require one to register. A strange exemption, indeed.
I was puzzled – I knew Newt is smart, the smartest politician on our planet, and I was certain he would be aware of the possibility of an ambush. I couldn’t understand why he was still in the race, knowing such a possibility was out there. I thought: he’s holding false hope that he can argue his way through this problem if it comes up.
I hate to be wrong, but in this case I’m glad Newt isn’t really in danger. I admit, when I heard D’Amato explain what could happen, I was hooked by the opinion of someone I believed to be an authority on lobbying – a former senator. Gullibility is a symptom of a weak mind, and I often fall victim to it. One needs to be cynical in politics. I freely admit my error, but I’m glad there’s still hope for Newt. However, with the rise of Santorum, Newt faces a steep uphill battle.