- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2013

A political and cultural moment of note: former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, will appear at the fifth annual Freedom Conference this weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo. It’s all courtesy of the esteemed and feisty Steamboat Institute, a grass-roots organization that counts fiscal conservatism, lower taxes and a strong national defense among its founding principles.

“The format is unique,” Chairman Jennifer L. Schubert-Akin tells Inside the Beltway. “Liz Cheney will actually interview her father. They are going to have an authentic, wide-ranging conversation about what’s really happening in the world.”

Ms. Cheney is in the middle of a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming, so it should be interesting.

Also on the list of speakers: Heritage Foundation fellow for national security affairs Peter Brooks; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute; plus a half dozen Colorado sheriffs who headline a forum called “The Truth About Gun Control.”


“Al Jazeera America’s Republican lobbyists,” reads a headline from eagle-eyed Russ Choma, an analyst with the Center for Responsive Politics, who recently pored over some lobbying disclosure statements to find evidence of GOP involvement with the Qatar-owned news network, which debuted Tuesday.

“Considering the negative perception some Americans have of the Arab news organization, the company might have been lucky to get its new effort off the ground at all — and at least some credit likely goes to K Street, including former Sen. Mike Castle, Delaware Republican,” Mr. Choma says.

There was opposition to the network, from, among others, Michael Mukasey, who served as attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. He called for congressional hearings over the possibility of a foreign company controlling U.S. media.

“It’s not exactly clear what Al Jazeera’s new lobbying team talked about on the Hill — the filings all vaguely describe ‘informational communications regarding client’s cable television channel’ — but no hearings materialized and lawmakers generally seemed to have little to say about the issue,” Mr. Choma continues.

Mr. Castle, who left office two years ago, works at DLA Piper, a lobbing firm, and was one of 11 lobbyists Al Jazeera America consulted, from four different firms. The network paid lobbying firms at least $240,000, of which $220,000 went to DLA Piper.

“Along with Castle, Al Jazeera also brought on former GOP congressional staffers Mark Paoletta and Laurie Purporo,” adds Mr. Choma, also noting that from January through June 2013, MSNBC parent company Comcast Corp. spent $9.5 million lobbying; Time Warner Cable, which owns CNN, $3.8 million; and 21st Century Fox, the company that includes FOX News, $245,000.



— President Obama’s two-day bus trip to four towns in Pennsylvania and New York, with entourage, in a tweet from CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who also noted in a later dispatch that on this trip, Mr. Obama “didn’t mention ‘phony scandals’, which used to be part of his distractions/posturing swipe.”


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