The Slatest

Today in Openly Unprincipled Washington Influence-Peddling

Your lovin’ don’t pay [Eric Cantor, Trent Lott, and John Breaux’s] bills.

Photo by Givaga/Shutterstock

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait notes this afternoon that former Sens. Trent Lott (a Mississippi Republican) and John Breaux (a Louisiana Democrat) have teamed up in heartwarming bipartisan fashion to begin lobbying for, ah, let’s see … a Russian bank with close ties to Vladimir Putin that faces potential sanctions because the United States believes Putin is using Russian forces and arms to abet a rebellion in the Ukraine. (The Lott-Breaux story was originally broken by the Center for Public Integrity.) Meanwhile, New York’s Annie Lowery breaks down the news that former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has become a vice president of a financial firm called Moelis & Company. Lowery interviews Dennis Kelleher, a former corporate lawyer and current public interest activist, about the move:

Let’s look at Cantor’s résumé. Let’s look at all his investment-banking experience. Let’s look at his capital-markets experience. He has none. He has no experience or skills that would qualify him to be even an intern at a fifth-tier firm in the financial industry. … They’re paying him a guaranteed — you’ve got to love Wall Street, you guarantee money because you can’t fail on Wall Street — they’re guaranteeing him $3.8 million. You don’t guarantee someone $3.8 million because you’re training him to be an investment banker. Wall Street is after what it’s always buying in Washington: access, influence, and unfair advantage.

To be fair, there’s no evidence that Cantor doesn’t fully believe in the anti-regulation line he’ll be using his influence to peddle. One would at least hope that Lott and Breaux do not strongly believe in a repressive dictator’s right to escape sanctions imposed by the United States because he is supporting an armed rebellion against the democratically elected government of a neighboring state.

Update, September 2, 5:10 p.m.: A sentence has been added to this story crediting the Center for Public Integrity for breaking the Trent Lott-John Breaux news.