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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
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature