Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took to her Twitter account to share how corporate lobbyists really influence lobbyists in Washington, sharing an Intercept report about a spa event attended by senior staffers of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
The party, according to the report, gave members of both parties the opportunity to "listen to live music from the Trailer Grass Orchestra, sip surprisingly impressive glasses of Virginia wine — and hear from health care lobbyists focused on defeating Medicare for All."
Ocasio-Cortez explained that this is par for the course for corporate lobbyists, who "ID bills they need to kill (no matter the human cost)" and devise ways to undermine these bills with "sensible" talking points that paint the targeted legislation as "misguided" in their efforts to "schmooze" lawmakers.
This is how corporate lobbying works: Lobbyists ID bills they need to kill to keep profits high (no matter the hum… https://t.co/pEfgHnBsyo— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557767355.0
Ocasio-Cortez observed that when she was looking at lobbying as a voter rather than a member of Congress, she believed the process was "more transactional in nature than it actually is."
When I was looking at lobbying from the outside, just as a normal voting citizen, it appeared to me as more transac… https://t.co/GQVQBcfPNF— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557767511.0
"In practice it’s not transactional, it’s social," she said, pointing out that lobbyists ingratiate themselves to lawmakers with "invites" and friendly overtures.
It’s that bundle 💰 for elections, so you pick up their call,accept invites, become friends. In practice it’s not t… https://t.co/Wag4wiQ8uY— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557767923.0
After one critic accused Ocasio-Cortez of implying that "Hill staffers are so without values that they'll just advise their boss to vote for whatever" and that "their bosses are so lacking in convictions or policy chops that they'll do whatever they're told," Ocasio-Cortez explained that the lobbying process is far more tactical and insidious than it appears.
@AndrewFeinberg It’s not that simple. Oftentimes you have no idea you’re listening to a lobbyist bc they incorporat… https://t.co/IogMBGqyiI— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557768137.0
@AndrewFeinberg So sometimes you think you’re getting some straightforward info by some professor here or there, as… https://t.co/uI5zAOcH70— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557768204.0
@AndrewFeinberg But also if you’re a staffer getting invited to a spa weekend funded by lobbyists, maybe ask yourse… https://t.co/cTn95w4uTt— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1557768408.0
The freshman Congresswoman's observations resonated with observers who emphasized the need to get lobbyists and money out of politics.
@AOC Getting money out of politics is an urgent issue for ALL of us. Republicans and democrats. Let’s form bridges on this issue.— Nathaniel #CountryOverParty (@Nathaniel #CountryOverParty)1557767388.0
@AOC This is shameful. As the saying goes “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” Maybe we should change it to whoe… https://t.co/RuEquMRrjG— Jennifer Taub (@Jennifer Taub)1557839641.0
@AOC I agree. Overturning Citizens United and getting rid of corporate lobbyists might ACTUALLY help drain the swamp.— sherry edelman (@sherry edelman)1557775176.0
@AOC The corrosive effects of the money from lobbyists/PACs/megadonors is the number one problem in America. It pre… https://t.co/AZUBvI3bjn— Richard Ferrans (@Richard Ferrans)1557836870.0
Ocasio-Cortez took on lobbyists in recent weeks after she criticized Republicans for “the sheer mediocrity of witnesses” they called forth during House committee hearings. Ocasio-Cortez said the GOP “brought in a guy… backed by oil lobbyists arguing that fossil fuels are ‘healthy.'”
“It’s embarrassing,” she said at the time.
One of the things that genuinely surprised me in Congress is the sheer mediocrity of witnesses called forth by the… https://t.co/AgyCH3F0i3— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1556819416.0
Ocasio-Cortez earlier sparred with NRA lobbyist Chris Cox after he warned that Democrats are “in for a rude awakening in November of next year when the real America goes to the polls” if they support Ocasio-Cortez’s “socialist wave.”
“Wild that the NRA is suggesting the voters of NY-14 aren’t ‘real Americans’ because they don’t think assault weapons in school classrooms is a good idea,” she said not long afterward.