Incoming Reps Lee And West Defend Their Lobbyist And Wingnut Staffer Choices

Here's what we get to look forward to with this next wave of supposed tea partiers, or in other words the extreme right of the Republican base coming into power this year. As Think Progress noted, newly elected Mike Lee defended his hiring of a
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Here's what we get to look forward to with this next wave of supposed tea partiers, or in other words the extreme right of the Republican base coming into power this year. As Think Progress noted, newly elected Mike Lee defended his hiring of a corporate lobbyist as his Chief of Staff.

New Sen. Mike Lee Defends Hiring Energy Lobbyist As Chief Of Staff:

Incoming Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) ran as a tea party candidate, who claimed to be determined to change how business was done in Washington. Yet on Fox News Sunday this morning, Lee was asked by Chris Wallace why if his goal was to “drain the swamp” would he pick to have an energy lobbyist as his Chief of Staff? Lee responded that he wasn’t “scared” of lobbyists and that his lobbyist was “brilliant”. [...]

Lee joins many other incoming Republicans, such as incoming Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) who, despite rhetoric of cleaning up Washington, have all hired lobbyists. As the Washington Post reported last month, “Many incoming GOP lawmakers have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides. Several of the candidates won with strong support from the anti-establishment tea party movement… these cases illustrate the endurance of Washington’s traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric.”

Allen West also continued to defend his former choice of wingnut radio hate talker Joyce Kaufman as his first pick for chief of staff who he later ditched that Dave wrote about here.

Threats inspired by Allen West's fave radio ranter force Florida school lockdown:

It was already pretty weird when newly elected Tea Partier Allen West engaged in a brief and bizarre mini-drama when he announced he was hiring hate-radio talker Joyce Kaufman to be his new chief of staff. Today he let her walk away after a furor erupted over the hire.

Wallace did actually ask Lee about his lobbyist ties but made up for it completely giving him a pass with no follow up and letting West white wash his crazy ass staffer's history as well.

Transcript via Nexis Lexis below the fold.

WALLACE: You both, even in the short time since the election have run in to some criticism for your choices of chiefs of staff. And I want to ask you about that starting with you, Senator Lee. You have chosen an energy lobbyist as your chief of staff. Is that the right person to drain the swamp here in Washington? Incidentally, that's not the right person. But are you -- is that the right person to drain the swamp in Washington, an energy lobbyist?

LEE: I've hired the brightest political mind, political consultant and lobbyist in Utah, Manning Spencer Stokes. He is a brilliant man. He understands Utah politics and he understands Washington politics. And I need a man like that to help me in Washington.

WALLACE: And you're not scared off by the fact he's a lobbyist?

LEE: No. He's a lobbyist and he's a political consultant. And I'm not scared off by that. He and I share a common vision, which is more constitutionally limited federal government. He's willing to fight with me to achieve that objective. And that's exactly the kind of person we need in Washington, D.C. right now is someone who has that goal in mind.

WALLACE: Congressman West, you chose and we can now put her picture up on the screen, a radio talk show host, Joyce Kauffman, as your chief of staff, but when it came out that she called Nancy Pelosi "garbage" and told a Tea Party rally "if balance don't work, bullets will" she stepped down. What did you learn from that whole experience?

WEST: Well, I think first of all what you saw was an attack from the left against Joyce Kauffman and there are some other issues with that, but they didn't play the full clip of her speech when she gave that, I think it was the 4th of July. So once again, it was the editing sound bite.

And I didn't learn anything from it, because you just adjust and you continue on. So Joyce Kauffman was a very instrumental and helpful person in our campaign and she was the one who interviewed my current chief of staff because she knows it's a good match.

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