Unseated by Ocasio-Cortez, Crowley Joins Revolving Door Lobbyists

Barely two months out of office, Joe Crowley, the former ten-term U.S. congressman who suffered a stunning defeat to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th district last November, is now joining Squire Patton Boggs, one of the most powerful corporate lobbying firms the U.S.

Squire Patton Boggs is a large firm with many clients, including major corporate powerhouses from the defense, private prison, and fossil fuel industry, as well as ultra-conservative advocacy groups. (We profile some of these clients below).

Crowley was one of the most powerful and well-connected members of Congress. He served as chair of the House Democratic Caucus and was widely seen as a possible successor to Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. In moving through the revolving door to join Squire Patton Boggs so soon, Crowley seems to be confirming a major critique that was hurled against him during his failed defense of his Congressional seat: that his loyalties lie with the U.S. corporate establishment, and that the power and influence he developed in Congress, which he now looks to profit off of as a lobbyist, were based on his ties to that establishment.

At Squire Patton Boggs, Crowley is joining other powerful revolving door lobbyists who formerly served in Congress. These include former House Speaker John Boehner, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, and Jack Kingston, who was a high-ranking GOP U.S. congressman from 1993 to 2015 from Georgia’s first district. Squire Patton Boggs also announced that, along with Crowley, it is hiring former GOP Rep. Bill Shuster, a nine-term congressman who chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Here are some of Squire Patton Boggs’s more notable clients, who have paid the firm some of its biggest sums in recent years:

  • Americans for Carbon Dividends (AFCD) is a conservative U.S. lobbying group that promotes a carbon tax plan that is sponsored by the fossil fuel industry and “based on the conservative principles of free markets and limited government.” The plan, called the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan, is backed by Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other oil and gas powerhouses, and serves as a counter to more far-reaching climate plans like the Green New Deal. AFCD appears to be a Squire Patton Boggs creation – it is led by John Breaux and Trent Lott, both former U.S. Senators who are now Squire Patton Boggs lobbyists, and who lobby for other fossil fuel corporations that we describe below. According to federal lobbying filings, AFCD has paid $300,000 to the firm since last October to lobby Congress and the White House.
  • Policy and Taxation Group is a leading lobbying group to repeal the estate tax. One of its main backers has been the Koch brothers, as well a host of rich families with huge corporate fortunes, such as the Gallo (wine), Mars (candy), Dorrance (Campbells Soup), and other families. The Policy and Taxation Group is led Patricia M. Soldano, a leading anti-estate tax lobbyist. The Policy and Taxation Group paid Squire Patton Boggs $1.78 million from 1999 to the present (the latest filing was dated January 2019) for its lobbying services.
  • Management & Training Corporation is the third largest private prison company in the U.S. after GEO Group and CoreCivic. The company has faced numerous controversies over its abuses and conditions. One recent example was highlighted in the New York Times last year – a Mississippi private prison that Management & Training Corporation that saw “extraordinary violence and neglect” towards inmates. Management & Training Corporation has paid Squire Patton Boggs $560,000 since 2017 to lobby Congress, and one of its hired lobbyists from the firm is Jack Kingston.
  • Advanced Emissions Solutions (AES) builds coal refineries and develops “clean coal” technology. It is one of Squire Patton Boggs biggest clients. Last December, Reuters published a special report, where it mentioned Advanced Emissions Solutions, on how “clean coal” programs often fail to deliver on their promises of smog cuts. AES has paid Squire Patton Boggs $520,000 since 2017 to lobby Congress. One of AES’s hired lobbyist from the firm is Trent Lott.
  • Gulf Energy Alliance (GEA)is the powerful fossil fuel industry coalition that promotes oil and gas interests around drilling, infrastructure buildout, and imports and exports in the Gulf Coast. The GEA has paid Squire Patton Boggs $1.08 million since 2017 to lobby Congress and executive offices like the Deptermart of the Interior around “issues related to assets and production in the Gulf of Mexico.” GEA hired a powerhouse lobbying team with Squire Patton Boggs that includes Trent Lott, Jack Kingston, and John Breaux.
  • BAE Systems is a British defense industry company that has faced constant controversy over its role in propping up weapons systems and repressive regimes. For example, it has sold mass surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes, supplied Saudi Arabia with weapons it is using in its war against Yemen, and helps make drones and weapons used by Israel against Gaza. BAE Systems paid Squire Patton Boggs $380,000 during 2017 and 2018 to “monitor defense spending,” and one of its hired lobbyists was Jack Kingston. (It should be noted that, as of mid-2018, the firm is no longer lobbying for BAE Systems).

Other Squire Patton Boggs former clients include fossil fuel giants like Royal Dutch Shell and corporate behemoths like AECOM and Amazon. The hedge fund Cerberus is also a client, though it hasn’t filed any payments or lobbying activities with Squire Patton Boggs for years. Cerberus owns Remington Outdoor Co., one of the biggest U.S. gun manufacturers.

Crowley will be limited to lobbying the executive branch and state government officials until 2020 because of a rule that says former elected officials cannot lobbying their former colleagues (in his case, Congress) or foreign entities for a year after leaving office.