The AT&T/GLAAD gaywashing scandal proceeds apace. The AT&T-written letter GLAAD ‘president’ Jarrett Barrios submitted to the Federal Communications Commission is linked to former Orrin Hatch staffer and current AT&T lobbyist Mr Troup Coronado, GLAAD board member.
Lobbyist Mr Troup Coronado has a smarmy history that goes back to the bad, old days when Speaker Dennis Hastert and his now-felon deputy Tom Delay set the loosest ethics rules in the the history of the House of Representatives. Despite the looseness of those GOP rules, in early 2006, the Washington Post exposed their egregious violation by lobbyists after it obtained a spreadsheet from a BellSouth employee. This spreadsheet showed how many of the BellSouth DC lobbyists had violated Hastert’s lax ethics rules — so lax they resulted in the largest repudiation of a political party in modern political history later that fall.
On that BellSouth spreadsheet, which the named clerical employee provided to the WaPo because she was sick of the lying and hypocrisy of her employers, one name stood out among BellSouth’s lobbyists: Troup Coronado.
The Post obtained the document and some backup materials from Vicki A. Taylor, a BellSouth clerical worker who said she was outraged by the quantity of expenses that appeared to violate congressional rules as well as BellSouth expense policies. “It’s obscene. It’s wrong,” she said. “This is run-of-the-mill. It’s routine. And they think nothing of it.”
After the Post contacted BellSouth and congressional officials listed in the document, one of the company’s eight D.C. lobbyists, Troup Coronado, reimbursed BellSouth $1,093 for entertainment expenses he said were personal rather than lobbying-related this year for Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Tex.), Rep. Silverstre Reyes (D-Tex.) and Cindy Jimenez, adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Troup Coronado was caught red-handed padding his expense reports. And it made the Washington Post.
Even the lobbyists’ educational group and trade association in Washington DC were startled by the egregious nature of the BellSouth violations:
The BellSouth records show that the firm’s lobbyists were regularly out on the town hosting people they are paid to influence with drinks and dinner at Washington’s priciest restaurants — from Charlie Palmer Steak to the Capital Grille. Some of the guests feasted so often and so well that they apparently toted up bills several times as large as they are allowed to accept.
The experience is not isolated. “The gift rules have been broken steadily for a long time despite strong efforts by corporations to stay within the limits,” said Douglas G. Pinkham, president of the Public Affairs Council, an education group for lobbyists. Paul A. Miller, president of the American League of Lobbyists, agreed: “If you call that an abuse, it probably is the biggest one.”
More startling still is this [my bold]:
In the main, the gift limit operates on the honor system. The policy is not routinely policed by any agency outside or inside Congress, nor are lobbyists or congressional officials required to disclose the gifts of meals, tickets for sporting events and the like while they are in Washington.
In a gift policing structure that then operated on the honor system, the exposure of Troup Coronado’s egregious expense-account padding was so flagrant that he — and only he is named in the WaPo article as having done so — was required by his then-employer, BellSouth, to reimburse the company for entertaining his Congressional ‘friends’ on the company’s dime.
This is the person the Human Rights Commission appointed to its Business Council. This is the person GLAAD sees fit to have on its board. This is the person — Troup Coronado — who uses GLAAD’s once-good name to influence the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on the TMobile/AT&T merger, practically unbeknownst to GLAAD’s executive.
Whose interests is this expense-report padding lobbyist really representing on GLAAD’s Board of Directors, anyway?