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Fera Dayani, California Democratic Party
Sandy Huffaker/Stringer/Getty Images News
In a town like Washington, D.C., lobbyists jockey for position to turn the ear of elected representatives who can be instrumental in advancing their client’s interests. Access for a lobbyist is power. Representative Brian Bilbray would know, he’s a former lobbyist.
A little known fact about Bilbray is that he was a registered lobbyist before being elected to represent his current district in the San Diego area.
As a lobbyist for the far-right anti-immigration group the Federation for American Immigration (FAIR), Bilbray no doubt partook in closed door wheeling and dealing with little to no transparency. He was also tied to notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff who pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe members of Congress.
In 2006, when the time came for Bilbray to run for office again, he worked hard to prevent being listed as a lobbyist on the ballot. He succeeded. After much negotiation he was able to list himself as an "immigration reform consultant," shedding the lobbyist title that would have made running for disgraced Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham’s seat an uphill climb.
Bilbray is no doubt preparing another change in costume as the November 2012 election nears and he finds himself in a less conservative district. Will his lobbyist past catch up to him this time in the newly created 52nd Congressional district? Voters in the district will decide.