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.
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.”
“In practice it’s not transactional, it’s social,” she said, pointing out that lobbyists ingratiate themselves to lawmakers with “invites” and friendly overtures.
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.
The freshman Congresswoman’s observations resonated with observers who emphasized the need to get lobbyists and money out of politics.
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.
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.