"Consulting" Covers a Multitude of Sins

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It would seem that getting his home remodeled by an oil services company then wildly underreporting the value of that remodel is not the only questionable thing Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been up to lately. Shocker, right? It appears that 'round about the time Stevens held his powerful post on the Senate Appropriations Committee a lobbying firm looking to win millions for their clients from the Committee went to work as fundraising consultants for Stevens.

Roll Call is reporting that the lobbying firm, Robison International, took in about half a million dollars in consulting fees from Stevens' campaign and leadership PAC. Oh, and hey this is convenient: Robison's clients -- mostly defense contractors -- have collected millions in appropriations, and Robison's raking in four times as much money as they before initiating a consulting relationship with Stevens.

The firm claims they're involved more on the bookkeeping end of things than actual solicitation of funds, but as the article points out the relationship between the firm and Stevens is unusual. Law firms with a lobbying department are sometimes contracted to provide legal advise around fundraising and campaign finance, but in Stevens case they were contracted to provided these fundraising services but no legal advice.

Spokespeople for Sen. Stevens and Robison fall all over themselves to deny anything improper. Money never influences decision-making in Washington! That fishy smell is just the breeze off the Potomac! Diet tastes just as good as regular!