Influence Peddling

The American Conservative Union Offers to Lobby Against Certain Spending Cuts

04.09.13 3:37 PM ET

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I welcome recognition of defense and infrastructure spending as important parts of a modern Republican program. That said, there's something more than a little disturbing about this New York Times report on the recent activities of the American Conservative Union:

In a draft proposal circulated to defense and transportation industry executives in recent weeks, the [ACU] is offering to use its grass-roots organization, annual conference and movement clout to lobby against cuts to federal military and infrastructure spending.

The group is also proposing to incorporate favorable votes on military and infrastructure spending into its widely cited Congressional voting scorecard, “the ‘gold standard’ for elected officials,” according to the proposal, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. …

“Constitutional conservatives recognize that not all government expenditures are equal,” the proposal says. “These investments are core, constitutional federal responsibilities and should be so treated in the allocation of federal resources.”

The proposed new effort, called the American Strength Program, would be financed by contributions from the defense and transportation businesses, which have struggled to defend the federal appropriations that benefit them as Congressional Republicans seek further spending cuts.

In recent weeks, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association has urged transportation lobbyists and business executives to make contributions to the American Strength Program.