After Katrina Swett has spent months criticizing Democratic opponent Ann McLane Kuster‘s work as a lobbyist, reports have surfaced that Swett’s name appeared on several federal lobbyist registries in the 1990’s.
I have written previously that I think voters would respond positively if Kuster were more candid about her extensive lobbying background. But when it comes to obfuscation of lobbying work, it seems that Kuster is no longer alone.
“It’s kind of like, if you register to vote, but don’t vote, you’re not a voter,” Swett told the Union Leader‘s John DiStaso in describing the significance of her lobbying background.
While reporters will certainly spend time trying to discern the significance of Swett’s work as a lobbyist — a word that has taken on a life of its own — the revelation looks terrible for Swett.
The issue is less about the semantics of what constitutes lobbying, and more about perceived honesty and transparency in a race that has taken an ugly turn.
This news makes Swett look silly for slamming her opponent on the issue, and her quote comparing it to registering to vote seems weak at best.
Swett was quoted by the Valley News in June as saying “My background, the work I have done, I have not, you know, been a lobbyist,” but her name is on the 997 federal Lobbying Registration form as vice president of Dick Swett Associates, Inc.
Read the full Union Leader story here.
Kuster has lobbied for almost 20 years, representing groups such as Dartmouth College, NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, New Hampshire Independent Schools, and several pharmaceutical companies.
She has preferred to call her work advocacy rather than lobbying, and has been criticized by Swett for misleading voters about her background.
As a blogger from Red Hampshire wrote, “Today is a great day for who ever is the Republican nominee in the 2nd district.”
Kuster’s communications director Neil Sroka was quick to issue a statement today:
CONCORD, NH – Kuster for Congress Communications Director Neil Sroka today released the following statement in response to the news that Katrina Swett has been a Washington lobbyist, despite her repeated denials of exactly that.
“Katrina Swett has been caught clearly deceiving voters about who she is. Despite all her frequent public objections to lobbyists, it turns out Katrina herself was a registered Washington lobbyist. She even owned a federal lobbying firm, and for the last fifteen years she and her husband, former Congressman Dick Swett, have represented numerous multinational corporations. Swett’s dishonesty and hypocrisy about her own background is stunning, and it leaves many questions unanswered.”