The swamp doesn’t drain itself, as we seem to learn again and again, so it comes as little surprise that some multinational corporations are having a few regrets that they paid millions of Ameros to Comrade Stupid’s Stupidest Lawyer, Michael/Mikhail Cohen.
As we know, AT&T wanted to buyTime-Warner, and Novartis didn’t want to negotiate drug prices with Medicare. So you know, what better way to get what you want from a crook than to bribe him?
In the time-honored tradition of being a mark, they didn’t get anything other than being taken.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson:
“There is no other way to say it—AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”
Novartis CEO Vasant Naraimhan:
“We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a consequence, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us.”
Over at Tiger Beat on the Potomac email thingie, they throw a cold dose of reality (long passage, kinda like Ned Beatty’s long speech in Network… where he explains how the world really works.)
“In the last two days, we’ve seen the world get introduced to two elements of D.C. that many of us know well: political intelligence and big-dollar fundraising. Here are a few things that happen in D.C. that might — but shouldn’t — catch some people by surprise:
— YES, Paul Ryan flew across the country to meet with Sheldon Adelson, and when the super PAC asked for $30 million, he had to leave the room. Yep, it’s weird. That’s how campaign finance works. They can do everything but ask for the big dough. Happens routinely in both parties.
— YES, guys like Michael Cohen routinely get paid amounts like $1.2 million to offer insights about their boss or former boss. Yeah, it’s crazy. But many readers of this newsletter would not have their McMansion in McLean, their BMW, their membership at Army Navy, second homes in Delaware, cigar lockers and endless glasses of Pinot Noir at BLT Steak and Tosca if that kind of stuff didn’t happen. Newsflash: $1.2 million is not even a rounding error for massive corporations. (The smart companies route these deals through law firms.)
A scintilla of information gives a company an edge. That price tag would be completely worth it for a member of Hill leadership — and intel on Trump is worth much more than that. It seems like Cohen offered squat. See WaPo story on Cohen advising AT&T on Time Warner merger https://wapo.st/2ICutT0
— YES, people work for years on the Hill for $60,000 to make three times as much money on K Street to work much shorter days. And, guess what, random 24-year old Hill aide: they don’t like you for your personality. You’re boring and green. They want to know what your boss is talking about, what he’s worked up about and what he’s thinking about on random bill X.
— YES, people pay for access. It’s called a fundraiser. Why do you think many restaurants in D.C. have five private rooms? Why do you think some companies buy massive townhouses on Capitol Hill? Why do you think members of Congress hold PAC retreats at swanky resorts, and lobbyists go in droves? It ain’t for the camaraderie.
— YES, all of the people who say they are against the system participate in it. Yes, the people who rage against the machine are greasing the skids. Watch cable TV, look for a lawmaker who says the system is broken and then take a gander at their campaign finance report. Bet you they have tons of PAC contributions, and tons of lobbyists giving them dough.
— AND NO, the swamp is not drained. Give us a break. We’re not defending the status quo — but welcome to reality. This is the campaign finance/lobbying/government system Congress created and D.C. fostered.”
Kinda bracing, isn’t it?
“Robert Quinn, a veteran lobbyist and attorney who’d led the office, was forced out and AT&T’s Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson … called the hiring of [Michael] Cohen a ‘big mistake.'” (Bloomberg)