Since his first House campaign a dozen years ago, would-be Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has worked diligently to cast himself as a conservative gadfly, willing to buck GOP leaders and even a Republican president.
But as a result of the six-term congressman’s work as a lobbyist two decades ago for a Namibian uranium operation with ties to Iran, a GOP primary opponent and Democrats are portraying him as a Washington insider who should not get to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
Well before Flake was a leader in the campaign to eliminate the pet projects and grants that lawmakers add to spending bills, he was a registered foreign agent who represented Namibia and a uranium mine in the southern African nation that gained independence in 1990. Flake has since received $100,000 in contributions from mining interests and voted a number of times against penalties on Iran.
In Washington’s revolving-door climate, it’s not unusual for lawmakers and lobbyists to switch back and forth.
Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., for example, began his political career as a congressional aide, then lobbied on behalf of hospitals for a decade before winning election to the House in 2006. Several lawmakers have worked as lobbyists between service in Congress, including Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.
Read More at OfficialWire. By Jeri Clausing.