About This Series | Chapters:

Chapter 7

Ken Schlossberg and Gerry Cassidy built one of the most successful lobbying firms in Washington, but their relationship foundered. After they split, one would become rich, the other would disappear.

Robert G. Kaiser

By 1984, the prospering lobbying firm of Schlossberg-Cassidy was, like so many bad marriages, doomed to dissolution.

The partnership that created the firm wasn't exactly a marriage, but its two principals behaved uncannily like incompatible spouses. Gerald Cassidy and Kenneth Schlossberg, once intimate friends, were both 35 years old when they started their firm. They related to each other as two ethnic kids from the Northeast, as Schlossberg put it.

But they were dissimilar men. Cassidy had grown up poor in Brooklyn and Queens in a pretty dysfunctional Irish Catholic family, whereas Schlossberg had enjoyed a Jewish version of an Ozzie and Harriet/Brady Bunch upbringing in Brookline, Mass., where his father ran a funeral home. Cassidy was driven to get rich, and to put the deprivations of his childhood far behind him. Schlossberg liked to smell the roses: "I liked the '50s -- mom and pop and the two kids, working five days a week, nine to five, weekends off. It was a very healthy thing." To this day Schlossberg, an avid golfer, abhors workaholics. "People who want to work all the time put normal people at a terrible disadvantage," he says.

Schlossberg, sitting, and Cassidy in 1983. (Colin Norman, Science)

In the beginning they built their firm by working well together. Schlossberg's connections got them going. Cassidy's drive and his organizational skills kept them going. Cassidy was shy; Schlossberg was gregarious. Cassidy liked being in business; Schlossberg liked being in the public policy arena. They truly complemented each other.

By 1984, after nearly 10 years together, they were taking in close to $3 million a year in revenue. They could keep most of it for themselves, since overhead was modest and they had only a few colleagues. More important, they had hit on an amazingly lucrative business model. They had a corner on a burgeoning market that no one else had yet discovered: lobbying for earmarked appropriations from Congress for colleges, universities and hospitals. If the earmarks provided millions, they could charge hundreds of thousands. They had not only invented a new game; they wrote the rules and they played it alone, without real competitors.

In March of that year, the Wall Street Journal published a long article about Schlossberg-Cassidy and their accomplishments, detailing how they had won appropriations for Columbia and Catholic University in Washington (view the article [pdf]). Schlossberg, a former reporter who had many contacts in the press, says he "managed" the story. It was a wonderful -- and free -- advertisement for the firm.

Despite their successes, the two partners were growing weary of each other. They got on each other's nerves, quite literally. According to Cassidy, as the business grew Schlossberg withdrew from it. "He became more and more homesick, and I went to his house once to see him about it and told him, we can't go on like this. ..... And he told me he was really going to do better, he committed to the business and so on."

Schlossberg was bothered by Cassidy's explosive temper and by his brusque manner dealing with some people. "I remember one of my initial heart-to-hearts with Gerry, and I told him that I really wasn't happy with the way he was throwing himself around, just his behavior ..... really beating up on little people. He got upset and said 'Hey listen, we got a good thing going here, don't spoil it.'.''

Schlossberg wasn't sure it was such a good thing. He says he feared that he and Cassidy were becoming part of a corrupt new Washington where money trumped all. Political action committees were becoming important sources of political money, and Cassidy eagerly helped clients, beginning with the Ocean Spray cranberry cooperative, create PACs. Schlossberg says he thought it was improper to mix representation of universities with running PACs for corporate clients.

As evidence of his thinking then, Schlossberg cites a May 1986 op-ed article that he wrote for the New York Times. It appeared under the headline "The Greening of Washington":

"The truth is that money has replaced brains and hard work as the way for a lobbyist to get something done for his client," he wrote. He predicted that "legal corruption in our legislative and administrative processes will create a disaster."

In 1984 Schlossberg and Cassidy agreed that they should spend some money to create a presence at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. They persuaded two clients, Ocean Spray and the Pirelli Co., the Italian maker of cables, tires and other products, to finance "hospitality suites" to entertain delegates and members of Congress. They invited some other clients to come out to San Francisco, hoping to be able to introduce them to important members of the House and Senate.

Schlossberg remembers this as quite a fruitful week of making contacts. He recalls a lunch where he sat at the same table as Tip O'Neill, Pamela Harriman and Walter Shorenstein, a big Democratic contributor from San Francisco. But Cassidy remembers Schlossberg taking it easy. Jimmy Collins, a Tip O'Neill protégé and former Massachusetts state representative who was then helping Schlossberg-Cassidy at the convention, thought "Sophia [Schlossberg] and Ken were out there for a good time."

Collins recalled that he and his wife, Mary, accompanied by Cassidy's wife, Loretta, had taken one of two limos the firm had hired for the convention week on a drive up the Pacific coast one afternoon. This, said Collins, was a welcome respite from days of intense work. But the drive took longer than planned, and when they arrived back at their hotel they found the Schlossbergs were waiting impatiently for them, because they had wanted to use the limo. "Sophia gave a ration of crap to my wife, who was appalled by her behavior," Collins said.

The Schlossbergs were trying to get to Marin County, across the Bay, to buy a Brittany spaniel. Schlossberg and Cassidy both remember that at some point that afternoon, Sophia blew up at Cassidy on the telephone. Schlossberg says this happened when they were waiting for the limo in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, and they learned that Loretta Cassidy was using the car. "I called Gerry and asked what had happened," Schlossberg said. Then "Sophie got on the phone and read him the riot act. ..... Sophie doesn't take crap from anybody."

Cassidy remembers this too: "Sophia took the phone away from him and was ..... yelling at me."

Cassidy "got really ripped about this," recalled William Cloherty, one of their earliest associates. "There had been other blowups of various types like this. So I took Gerry aside at the Fairmont Hotel and said do you really want to bring this thing to a conclusion? Think about it. I said, take a hard minute here and think about it. Do you really want to end this thing? 'God. Bill, I do, I do,' he replied. And I said then if you really want to end it, I'll get you a lawyer. That's where you put your money on the table, Gerry, you hire a lawyer whose job it is to separate this operation. There's really no going back on that once you really are launched. ..... 'Do it; do it today,' he said."

Cloherty did act quickly. He called a lawyer friend in New York who referred him to Lester "Ruff" Fant in the Washington office of Sidley & Austin, the huge Chicago firm. In future years Fant would provide financial and legal advice to Cassidy that would stimulate his appetite for wealth and help make him a rich man. They met in Washington soon after that Democratic convention ended to discuss how to break up the lobbying firm.

Gerald Cassidy, right, and James Fabiani outside the offices of Cassidy & Associates in 1989. (Frank Johnston/TWP)

The same idea had occurred to Schlossberg. "I'd had it. ..... I went to our company attorney ..... and told him I wanted him to inform Gerry that I wanted to split the business. I had in mind that I would keep most of the university business and Gerry could have the corporations and the PACs. Gerry immediately countered that he wouldn't split it and he wanted to buy me out."

Cassidy quickly convened a meeting of the two "associates" then in the firm, James Fabiani and Frank Godfrey, at Godfrey's townhouse in Arlington. Fabiani recalled: "Gerry explained the situation and said, 'I want to get Ken out before Ken succeeds in getting me out, and I want you guys on my team.' It actually got to a discussion of barring Ken from the firm's offices." Fabiani and Godfrey readily agreed to join Cassidy.

Like wronged spouses, Cassidy and Schlossberg found a painful, drawn-out and expensive way to end their union. After much intrigue and maneuvering, and on the eve of a trial to which Schlossberg -- the plaintiff -- was determined to attract the maximum possible attention from his friends in the news media, they reached a settlement. Cassidy would buy Schlossberg out (eventually he paid $812,600 -- nearly $2 million in today's dollars), provided all the clients then with the firm remained and paid their bills. Schlossberg understood that if he took any of those clients away, his payout could be reduced.

Cassidy recalled that the firm had 27 clients when they split, including two pro bono clients . All but three (two of them the non-paying clients) chose to go with Cassidy. "It was really stunning to [Schlossberg] that none of them went with him," Cassidy recalled. "But it was because he had withdrawn from the business so much."

Schlossberg recalled what must have been a painful phone call from John Silber at Boston University. He called to say that Boston would stay with Cassidy. "I said, OK, just please remember all I did for you," Schlossberg recounted. [A previous version of this story mistakenly reported that the phone call was from Jean Mayer of Tufts University.]

Schlossberg kept lobbying on his own for several years, but eventually gave it up.

Early in November 1984, Schlossberg-Cassidy disappeared, to be succeeded by Cassidy & Associates. It would quickly become the biggest lobbying firm in town, measured by revenue. By the late '80s Cassidy was paying himself millions of dollars a year in salary, and he invested much of it in the booming stock market.

The boy from Red Hook, Brooklyn, abandoned by his real father, beaten by his step-father, repeatedly a witness to evictions and repossessions through a harrowing childhood, was becoming a rich man.

Washington Post research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Tomorrow: On his own, Cassidy becomes a juggernaut.

Key Related Materials

Documents / Newspaper Stories

About This Series | Chapters:

Photo Gallery

An overview of Gerald Cassidy's life and career.

Key Players

A "cast of characters" in the life and career of Gerald Cassidy.


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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Don't know about you, but I wish someone would give me 2 million to go away.

Posted by: Poppa Cap | March 12, 2007 09:40 PM

That made me want to take a hot soapy shower. In disinfectant. I may use UV lights. I have a suspicion by the time this "We Are Good Lobbyists" PR campaign has run its course I may be asking my doctor for Cipro as a precautionary guard against secondary infection from the avarice bacterium. Hannah Arendt is recognized for coining the concept of the banality of evil. She discussed the idea in a book about Eichmann. The Washington Post is doing it in 26 chapters of sloppy love letters to Cassidy, although I don't think that was their intended subject. Maybe their tactic is desensitization by over exposure. Lobbyists must go. All of them. For the reasons why, see the comments section in Chapter 6. Tomorrow? Tune in for another episode of "I Deserve To Be A Fascism Spreading Parasite Because My Childhood Sucked".

Posted by: Todd | March 12, 2007 10:55 PM

What is the obsession with promoting this Cassidy guy incessantly?

He is a corrupt greedy blowhard whose sycophant employees all write in here to try to portray him as Mother Teresa when he is no better than the common prostitute.

Your entire series disgusts me. These people are all a bunch of crooks.

Posted by: Sandy | March 13, 2007 02:22 AM

Todd - you might want to think about taking on some hobbies that gets you out of the house and away from the computer 24/7.
Sandy - strange you mention prostitutes, normally they're the only ones up at 2am on a Tuesday morning... good luck with that.

Posted by: just a thought | March 13, 2007 05:25 AM

just a thought - I have a thought for you, too. Mind your own business. Oh, I forget, you want to prop up lobbyists, who in turn promote fascism which by default makes you a fascist supporter. It is the nature of fascists to not mind their own business. Any more smarta$$ comments or do you have something intelligent to add to the conversation? Because if not, talk to the hand, just a thoughtless.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 07:23 AM

I almost forgot! It is nearing midweek and if the pattern holds, I should be getting a huge number of anonymous insults over the next three days from K-Street fans! Sorry, just a thoughtless! I didn't mean to upset your bandwagon.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 07:30 AM

Best line in today's installment: "Do you really want to bring this thing to a conclusion? Think about it. I said, take a hard minute here and think about it. Do you really want to end this thing?"

Oh, he's talking about waiting for a car in 1984. I thought he meant this series.

Posted by: Wake me when it's over | March 13, 2007 07:40 AM

Second best part today -- the line "By 1984." Saw it twice. No doubt tomorrow's thriller continues with 1985.

Posted by: Wake me when it's over | March 13, 2007 07:42 AM

So they lobbied for colleges, universities, and hospitals? Good! Seems like good causes to me.

Posted by: Calvin | March 13, 2007 07:45 AM

And so there you go, for all you folks who think what a nice guy Cassidy was, getting money for poor little defenseless universities. I especialy thought the talk about barring the man, the guy who got this business off the ground, from his own office. Check out his current website , he also represents all those poor oil companies, needing millions of our taxpayer dollars to subsidize their "failing" profit margins. Oh, silly me, I mean their RECORD profits. Of course, it is perfectly legal, who cares about moral or ethical or fair practice.

Posted by: Rachael | March 13, 2007 08:14 AM

Hey, Just a Thought, how is the veiw sitting in Plato's dark cave with Sportsfan, watching the puppet show?

Todd cares because he chose to look towards the sun instead of into the dark. Just a Thought, don't begrudge him for being braver than you.

Posted by: Rachael | March 13, 2007 08:59 AM

Rachael, glad to know you're thinking of me.

By this point... why am I reading? Stubbornness, I guess. My main thought now is that I don't really see this as a book. The writing is too choppy and too in-the-moment. Obsessed with details but short on insight. I'll give it a few more chapters.

Have at it, K Street haters. Perhaps your revolution will be traced back to this very thread.

Posted by: sportsfan | March 13, 2007 09:31 AM

The most astounding fact in today's piece is that when the firm split, 24 of the 27 clients went with Cassidy. That is an astounding percentage of clients to keep, and clearly reflects well on the relationship he had with his clients.

Posted by: JT | March 13, 2007 09:38 AM

Interesting way for the Post to end this installment of As the Lobbyist Turns:

"The boy from Red Hook, Brooklyn, abandoned by his real father, beaten by his step-father, repeatedly a witness to evictions and repossessions through a harrowing childhood, was becoming a rich man."

How about ....was becoming a rich man by becoming the first lobbyist to "work the system" by steering public tax dollars toward individual pet projects.

Hey, Calvin at 7:45 a.m. - which group do you lobby for? The American Society of Universities that Pay Your Large Salary?

Posted by: DC Dave | March 13, 2007 09:40 AM

Give me a break. Everyone commenting in this thread is either 1) a Cassidy employee or friend, 2) a Cassidy-hater (rival or former employee), or 3) a wing-nut that believes in a Utopia that never existed.

Pop quiz, before lobbyists got too much power who ran Washington, DC?
A. the people of America
B. wise politicians who thought of the country's best interests
C. rich white men who wanted to perpetuate their wealth and their system of privileges

If anything, Cassidy made the system a little bit better than it was and did so in order to make a lot of money. What's more American than that?

Posted by: Patrick | March 13, 2007 10:17 AM

Sporty, you say K Street Hater like it was a bad thing. Thanks for the compliment. And you schills can defend Cassidy all you want - he is a greed merchant in the business of graft. His actions and the actions of those in his vile profession have steadily been selling America to fascists and corporations at the expense of the citizens. What's more American than that?

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 10:51 AM

Twenty bucks says that Todd is ranting about "fascism" on his Apple laptop in a Starbucks while wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.

And Dave, did you go to college? Because if you did you undoubtedly benefited from the "pet projects" against which you're rallying.

Posted by: Holden | March 13, 2007 11:21 AM

Holden, if you would...please go back to the blog under Chapter 6 and scroll down to the post about Cassidy/Boston University/Dan Goldin. I would appreciate it if you could answer the $960,000 question I've posed there...

Posted by: Mary | March 13, 2007 11:59 AM

"The guilty pleas signed by Abramoff in early January 2006 state that he bribed public officials. One of the cases of bribery described in detail involves a person identified as "Representative #1," who was reported by the Washington Post to be Representative Bob Ney (R-OH). Ney's spokesman confirmed that Ney was the Representative identified, but denied any improper influence.[4] The agreement also details Abramoff's practice of hiring former congressional staffers. Abramoff used these persons' influence to lobby their former Congressional employers, in violation of a one-year federal ban on such lobbying.[5][6]"

To Patrick and Holden, does any of this ring a bell to you guys, that silly old Abramoff scandal that emodies everything most of us are addressing on this blog?

Patrick, our Democracy was always an evolving creation, i.e. "to form a more perfect union" ideal. No one here is claiming that things were perfect before lobbying became the corrosive corrupting mechanism it is today, but at least citizens had a reasonable change at creating the change required for that more "perfect union" ideal. Anyone who believes what Cassidy created has had a positive impact on the way our government now works can only be described as completely naive or on the take personally. BTW, you all are missing the point, this isn't about universities getting funding for pet projects, that is how the saga begins, it follows a different path, that path that led to the Abramoff scandal. And I would bet my life savings, he is only the tip of what has been happening in Washington these many years.

Hey Todd, if you are sitting at a starbucks, order me caramel Machiato, I love those!

Posted by: Rachael | March 13, 2007 12:20 PM

So let us see if we can agree on solutions to K St crinminal quagmire- I'll start with the most important one:
20-Year sentances when money changes hands?
Anyone have anything to add.........sportsfan??

Posted by: swtexas | March 13, 2007 12:41 PM

I meant to spell *criminal*

Posted by: swtexas | March 13, 2007 12:42 PM


People today really have far more chance of influencing their government than before the 1960's. For one thing, we now acknowledge that no matter what your skin color you ought to have an equal status under the law.

My point isn't that Cassidy solved the problem, only that he didn't create it. In every age the elites have found a way to profit off everyone else and if you destroy one set of elites a new one develops. What Cassidy did that was an improvement was to take the matter out of the hands of powerful politicians and their good ol' boy networks and make it into a scrutinized business that has 27 part articles written about it in the Post. Having the public aware is a step above where we were.

Maybe with all this careful attention some sound legislation can be passed (ending gifts and adding transparency, for example) and more importantly, the attention lobbying receives will put market pressure on those firms to behave ethically. Nothing like the need to make money to change behavior.

Posted by: Patrick | March 13, 2007 12:50 PM

Oh!!! and another thing.......this carousel of former staffers and legislators into lobbying and then back in to the gov*t...is that not major conflict of interest that should be illegal??

Posted by: swtexas | March 13, 2007 12:50 PM

I wish someone would tell me Patrick. Who is going to make transparent? As I said yesterday, The media, or WHO?

Posted by: swtexas | March 13, 2007 12:57 PM

Hey Kaiser,
when you say "disappeared", is that like John Gotti kind of disappear, an episode of "Lost" disappear, or Bermuda Triangle disappear?

Looks to me as if the schlossberg guy "disappeared" from the washington scene with his soul narrowly intact.

Posted by: Jeff | March 13, 2007 01:05 PM

I remember the 1984 Democratic convention. Isn't that where Mondale pledged to raise taxes? What a tool.

Posted by: Dwight | March 13, 2007 01:19 PM

Interesting chapter. Looking back on it, it seems like these were two guys with distinctly different agendas. Schlossberg seemed to actually want/have a life. He was interested in public policy and interests and less so in the money. He saw pretty quickly that the business that he and Cassidy were creating was becoming all too dirty, and the cast of characters that seem to repeatedly be in Cassidy's pocket backing him up only reinforce this idea.Not to mention, what kind of dirty character this Cloherty guy, along with Cassidy was for funneling clients one way or the other in a so-called partnership. The Times piece Schlossberg wrote at the time seems to pretty clearly explain his distaste for where lobbying in Washington was headed. I agree that he was the only one to leave this partnership with his soul in tact. Cassidy was a man with absolutely no life or agenda outside of making money. At any cost.

Posted by: Dave | March 13, 2007 01:29 PM

This series is still going on? Rags to riches. Well done, Mr. Cassidy. Carry on with your good work.

Posted by: VA-mon | March 13, 2007 02:55 PM

I got your coffee covered, Rachael. But I know a place much better than Starbucks. As for my computer ownership, not that it is any of Holden's business, it is a Windows machine but I have owned Macs and will again. Different tools for different jobs. Holden, others have tried to bring religion into the discussion of improper influence in the legislative process but to no avail. Please stick to the subject, K Street Gnat.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 03:44 PM

Holden, you can send to the $20 you owe me to to charity. How about your favorite charity, Cassidy & Co.? Oh that is right! It would just be easier for them to take it out of your paycheck.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 03:53 PM

I am speaking for everyone when i say that Todd and Rachael why don't you two just exchange emails and talk to each other. It seems that you two are the only ones that seem to care what the other one thinks!!

Posted by: Get a life | March 13, 2007 04:01 PM

Todd, I have never worked for any lobby shop, Cassidy or otherwise, and in looking over my original post, I'm having trouble finding any mention of religion. Was it the Che Guevara reference that confused you? Regardless, I was merely suggesting that your arguments strike me as coming from someone whose concept of "fascism" relies a little too heavily on Rage Against the Machine lyrics.

Posted by: Holden | March 13, 2007 04:17 PM

Holden, wrong, try again. I have multiple degrees in subject matter and life experience that I would bet far better qualify me to discuss fascism than you, Mr. I Bet He Use An Apple-Che Guevera Reference. Your insults are not even timely. Che? Please. This is 2007, not 1967. What next? Are you going to call me a Pinko? Whoooooo. Insert me rolling my eyes here. Add something constructive or continue to look like an idiot, your choice. I find either entertaining.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 04:27 PM

Get A Life - What is the matter, Anonymous K Street Insulter? Jealous? Still living in Mom's basement? Have you ever kissed a girl? A boy, even? A man's choice in names says a lot about the man especially when the name is chosen and not granted at birth. Go back to the kids table with the rest of schilldren if you do not have a refutation concerning lobbying being fascism as currently practiced. Or come back and get insulted again when you act like a brain damaged 12 year old. I find either amusing. You could have just skipped to singing Todd and Rachael Sitting In A Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Dolt. Follow your name.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 04:37 PM

Come on Anonymous K Streeters! Your Tuesday-Wednesday Insult Blitz was far superior last week. What is the matter? Did I hurt your A team? Do you have concussions and reality poisoning? Can't beat the logic of all? Damn that pesky logic! Well, ya'll come back now, ya here? I will be glad to slap all you fascist supporters down again. If I am not here, my argument for lobbying being fascism has been stated (yet not refuted) and others have my back. So in the words of your Boy George, bring it on. If this is your best, it is like shooting fish in a barrel with an RPG.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 04:47 PM

I have to agree with Patrick in that Cassidy didn't create the problem. However, he was was successful enough to warrant a 27-part series so that people like us can debate the finer poitns of lobbying reform. As I saw mentioned earlier, many inside the lobbying industry, including Cassidy, support increased disclosure and transparency.

Posted by: Rick | March 13, 2007 04:53 PM

Todd - Corporate lobbying is professionals being paid large sums of money by interests (businesses, schools, industries even) to secure even larger sums of money by persuading Senators and Congressmen to put specific sums into legislation. They do this through persuasion, media work, sketchy PAC contributions, and so on.

Fascism is "a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

Fascism works the other way: the Senators and Congressmen would be coercing (through terror and censorship!) the lobbyists to run their industry and support clients that they want. The closest you could get is saying Delay's K Street Project was coercive, though you should ask the residents of Germany, Italy, Japan, or Spain in the '40s if they think they are comparable.


Posted by: Patrick | March 13, 2007 05:06 PM

Todd, I am going to go out on a limb and assume that none of your "multiple degrees" were in English or political discourse. And if I have assumed wrongly, your alma mater kindly requests that you refrain from telling anyone that you're an alumnus. If you were capable of composing a coherent argument equating lobbying with fascism, then someone might be willing to debate you. But from what I've read so far, I won't be expecting that intellectual masterpiece anytime soon.

Posted by: Holden | March 13, 2007 05:16 PM

Hey Patrick, let me share another quote for you from a very famous politician who wanted to create a new society. He advocated "a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism". Hmmm, anyone...anyone....anyone? Yes, that would be correct Patrick, Mussolini. Now, if I have to spell it out how this has been happening in our country, please let me know, more than happy to do it. I really think one of the best examples is Halliburton and it monopoly of the Iraq war so called "rebuilding". How about "you are with us or against us", one of my favorite lines. Suddenly if you didn't want to go to war in Iraq you were a traitor to America.

Todd, very funny song to Get a Life!!!

Posted by: Rachael | March 13, 2007 06:03 PM

Patrick - Your counter discounts my previous statement about interaction with the campaign finance systems creating the climate of fascism. You have neither proven that lobbying is not the corporatism element of fascism nor that there has been no coercion. True, in instances of the coercion perpetrated by the Bush administration and the hyper-partisan Neocons, there is rarely a direct causal connection to lobbying with the exception of the secret Cheney Energy Task Force. And cases like Randall "Duke" Cunningham Probably William Jefferson. Let us not forget the known and unknown crimes of Jack Abrahamoff. No bid contracts for Halliburton. Ted Steven's bridge to nowhere. Your example of DeLay. AIPAC fostering and harboring a spy Israel used against our government. You also have a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of coercion. You seem to think there is some kind of physical intimidation element required. Coercion is using force to bend something to your will, not just the application of newtons or joules. The application of money is a type of social force. Coercion is usually used when persuasion will not work. However, the hyper-partisanship you see in this dysfunctional state is in part rooted in the profitability of selling your votes via lobbyists markets. The promotion of the general welfare is by its nature antithetical to corporate success. Eventually the will of the people and the operation of the government will diverge when corporate interests are given higher priority than the interests of the citizenry. Any of that sound familiar yet? It also sounds like you don't know much about history either. Look into the history of Krupps, Bayer (once part of I.G. Farben), Porsche and BMW and see what kind of cozy profitable relationship they had with the Third Reich and their administration. Hitler burned the Reichstag, true, but he kept the corporate representation. Their partners in expansionist warfare, the Italians, had very cordial profitable relations between their corporations and their Senators. So did Japan. So not only do you misunderstand the nature of coercion, you misunderstand who is the target of coercion under fascism - the citizen. There is no way that Congress would lean on lobbyists without citizens forcing them because they have a mutually beneficial host-parasite relationship. When a corporation or more accurately - amoral greedy sociopaths hiding behind corporations - rather than a statesman using his citizen constituents as a guide set the legislative agenda you set yourself up for disaster. Corporations are not natural persons and as a fiction are unbound by conscience and fear no traditional punishments for wrong doing. Corporations operate to one blind principle, profit. Legislation based on what is most profitable for a select few versus what is best for the whole population is why our health care system is so dysfunctional (for one example). Aside from providing for common defense, the business of government should be fulfilling the will and dictate of individual human citizens on an equal basis and provide for their general welfare (by building appropriate infrastructure, etc.). Jefferson would have agreed with that statement I think and so would many traditional Republicans and Democrats. Now look at what the reality of our dysfunctional government we have today and why it is dysfunctional. It is dysfunctional because corporate money buys influence on the legislative agenda against the will and to the detriment of the citizen. That money comes in via lobbyists, PACs and the campaign finance system. Ergo to fix the dysfunction caused by corruption you must remove the system that delivers it. You didn't quid erat demonstratum anything, Patrick.

Holden - I have said more of substance since the Washington Post started this messy love affair with Cassidy than you possibly could or have. Holden, you do know "Catcher in the Rye" is widely considered among psychologists and profilers as the "operations manual" for sociopaths, right? You ever hear of borderline personality disorder? You should ask your doctor. As for whether you appreciate what I write, I really do not care what you think about anything given your performance so far. You show some substance, you might get some respect. Otherwise, I laugh in your general direction.

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 07:25 PM

At the end of the month will the WP be able to answer the question whose written more words, Todd or Kaiser and will anyone care about either?

Posted by: word count | March 13, 2007 07:28 PM

word count - Nothing constructive to add? What most of you snakry Anonymous K Street Sympathizers think passes for discourse is pathetic. When you cannot defeat reality and logic, you act like teenagers. It's not about word count (both you and the physical word count), it's not about Kaiser and it certainly isn't about me. It is about the steady decline of governmental accountability and honesty. The topic is lobbying and the hand it is playing in the rise of fascism. The reason is this horrid PR slobbery knob job the Post is giving Cassidy is blatantly offensive to my Jeffersonian ideals. You don't like it? You think it is funny or futile? Then refute the statements or keep acting like a juvenile twit who does not care that his civil rights are being sold like a commodity and his children may live in a state of perpetual warfare unless someone currently in power does something stupid enough to kill us all. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke said that more than 200 years ago and it is as true today as it was when he said it. What are you doing?

Posted by: Todd | March 13, 2007 08:00 PM

Even if I don't keep up with the Kaiser series, I just might stick around for the Todd and Rachael Show.

Posted by: Sportsfan | March 13, 2007 08:39 PM

To Word Count, as a mother of two little children, I do care! This isn't some fun little inconsequential game these corporations play via lobbyists with our very quality of life. Not just present day, but future generations to come will suffer if we do not create the change required to make our Democracy work again for the citizens, not the corporation.

Todd, you write what I wish all people would understand.

Holden and Patrick are oddly quiet...hmmmmm. Truth gotch your
tongue or having too much fun sitting in your dark cave, facing away from reality.

Posted by: Rachael | March 13, 2007 08:45 PM

Hey everyone, I just wanted to apologize for the antagonism and crazy conspiracy theories that I have been espousing over the last few days. One of the deflector shields on my special helmet came loose and the CIA was able to control my thoughts through the microchip they implanted in my cat. Hope there's no hard feelings.

Posted by: Todd | March 14, 2007 12:06 AM

Fake Todd - Nice. Nanny nanny boo boo to you too, K Street Plant. You realize when you do that silly taunt thing, you win converts to my views, right?

Posted by: toddradian | March 18, 2007 07:16 PM

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