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Remember Jeffrey Shockey? He’s the former top aide to Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis, a powerhouse on the House Appropriations Committee. Shockey left the Hill in 1999 to become a lobbyist at a firm called Copeland, Lowery, where he specialized in winning money from Lewis’s committee. Taxpayers for Common Sense has traced at least $150 million in pork that Shockey won for clients of his firm, whose name partners include former California congressman Bill Lowery, another close friend of Lewis.
By 2004, Shockey was earning a cool $1.5 million salary as a lobbyist. The following year, he returned to the Hill to become Lewis’s deputy staff director at the Appropriations Committee. (Since that entailed a steep pay cut, Copeland Lowery cut Shockey a check for $2 million as a departure payment). Now Shockey is under scrutiny by federal investigators and, according to TPMMuckraker, seven of his former lobbying clients “have been served subpoenas in the federal investigation into the ties between Lewis and Lowery.”
So it’s no surprise to find that Shockey is lying low these days and no longer brags about his lofty status inside the beltway, as he was doing as recently as last year. It seems Shockey’s kids attend the Harbor School, a private elementary school in Bethesda (tuition: $15,748 per year). At last year’s Harbor School auction, he and his wife (Alexandra, another lobbyist and one-time Lewis staffer) donated a “United States Capitol Insider’s Basket.” According to the auction catalog:
This is the kind of insider’s special that is available only here in the D.C. area. This package includes a personal tour of the United States Capitol by Harbor parents Jeff & Alex Shockey. Take home many special mementos of your insider’s tour of the Capitol building including a marble Statue of Freedom, pewter Jefferson cup, cufflinks, Capitol Flag tile, and more. After your tour you can eat where the lawmakers are wined and dined with a $100 gift certificate from The Capital Grille.
Unlike the case with most items in the catalog, there was no suggested opening bid because the Shockey tour was deemed to be “priceless.” But at this year’s auction, the Shockeys were far more discreet and Harbor School parents were deprived of the opportunity to rent the couple as Capitol tour guides. Instead, the Shockeys donated a “Soccer Basket” which included a bag, soccer ball, goals, cones, lunch bag, water bottle, and shin guards. Asking price: $80. (“Goal!” reads the catalog copy). The couple also donated a slightly more upscale package of Robusto cigars, a cigar cutter, and humidor, which commanded an asking price of $500.
Funny how a federal investigation can make one so suddenly modest.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”