Leading Democratic party strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year. We have seen this process of adopting extreme positions and movements to increase base voter turnout, including in the 2005-2006 immigration debate. This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street firms. If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Democratic party or even President Obama’s re-election team would campaign against Wall Street in this cycle. However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies- and might start running against them too. Well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and t he radical right are channeling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual anger over TARP and other perceived bailouts. This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.
Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995, as amended, individuals are required to register with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate if they lobby either legislative or executive branch officials. In January 2009, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner placed further restrictions on the ability of lobbyists to contact executive branch officials responsible for dispersing Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA, P.L. 110-243) funds. Subsequently, President Barack Obama and Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a series of memoranda between March and July 2009 that govern communication between federally registered lobbyists and executive branch employees administering American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) funds.
For over three decades the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been an effective lobby within Congress to ensure that Israel remains strong militarily and economically, and endures as a national homeland for Jews. While acknowledging its effectiveness, AIPAC critics maintain that AIPAC is an ex-officio arm of the Israeli government which shamelessly manipulates the political process whenever it decides that there is a perceived threat to Israel’s interests. This paper will examine AIPAC’s origins, its structure and agenda. and its lobbying techniques to better understand why AIPAC is considered by many to be the most influential Congressional lobby.