Tom Ridge, on the Thursday, June 9 edition of the Colbert Report, claimed he is “not a lobbyist.” A quick glance at his resume shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
Ridge, now 65 years-old, has worn multiple hats throughout his extensive political career. Among them: first ever head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Bush Administration from 2003-2005, former Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995-2001, and former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from from 1983-1995.DHS in 2005, Ridge commenced his career as a lobbyist, opening a lobby shop known as Ridge Global, located in Washington, D.C, an entity he still currently heads. Beyond this stint, though, Ridge is also a paid “consultant” (a.k.a. lobbyist) for the Marcellus Shale Coaltion. This Coalition is a “trade association” in disguise, for in reality it is a gas industry-funded lobbying organization.
That aside, one must look no further than the Pennsylvania Department of State’s lobbyist registry for the real smoking gun evidence. (See attached lobbying disclosure for Tom Ridge.)
The registry shows that the Coalition has 11 lobbyists registered to advocate for fracking in the Marcellus Shale region, and in Pennsylvania in particular, among those listed include Coalition Executive Director Kathryn Klaber and Tom Ridge. The registry also shows that their paychecks come from none other than Ridge Global.
Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, shows that since 2010, the Marcellus Shale Coalition has recieved $90,000 from Ridge Global. Open Secrets also shows that Ridge is currently a paid lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chairing their National Security Task Force. Furthermore, he is the current recipient of a $900,000 a year paycheck from the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
And yet, though the evidence against his claim is quite damning, Ridge had the chutzpah to begin his June 9, 2011 interview on the Colbert Report with a bang, claiming he is “not a lobbyist.”
Not a lobbyist? Under what definition, exactly?
As it turns out, Ridge has previously been scolded by the Justice Department for failing to properly register as a lobbyist. Perhaps Mr. Ridge needs to review the definition of ‘lobbyist.’ Here is the Washington Post’s definition, for instance: “A person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest.”
Mr. Ridge’s work on behalf of the gas industry clearly qualifies as lobbying under any reasonable review.