Lobbying Group Proud of Stopping Lawmakers Who Were Set to “Vote Their Conscience”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 1 2014 1:13 PM

Lobbying Group Proud of Stopping Lawmakers Who Were Set to “Vote Their Conscience”

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Mitch McConnell.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty

It's not surprising that lobbyists would be happy about persuading legislators who were set to "vote their conscience" to be hostile, partisan, and uncooperative instead, but the FreedomWorks memo newly uncovered by Mother Jones' Andy Kroll is at least darkly amusing for the directness with which that dubious achievement is celebrated (and the very idea of conscience-based voting is belittled):

Early in the stimulus battle, we learned that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was learning towards letting Senate Republicans 'vote their conscience,' code words for an unwillingness to lead. Our campaign team was able, with just several hours notice, to mobilize a grassroots firestorm that systematically shut down every phone line in the Leader's offices, both in Washington, DC, and in Kentucky. This unreported story resulted in a very strong Senate Republican Leadership position opposing the trillion-dollar stimulus bill and a surprisingly unified opposition in the Senate.
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That's a 2009 memo written by FreedomWorks CEO and President Matt Kibbe as quoted by MoJo. (FreedomWorks was one of, if not the, premier Tea Party lobbying groups, but these days they're reportedly in bad shape.) The stimulus bill would eventually pass with the support of only three Republican senators—Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

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