In 2010, Colorado Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Jane Norton didn’t want to be called a lobbyist. She downplayed the fact that her family was brimming with well-connected successful members of the influence industry and she told reporters and Tea Partiers all along the trail that she never worked as a lobbyist.
It was the year of the fractious “Obamacare” town halls and Norton had joined the chorus of Republicans strongly opposing the law. She didn’t want to talk about the fact that, from 1994 to 1999, she was executive director of the “Office of State Government Relations and the Office of Strategic Relationships” at the Englewood-based Medical Management Association, which billed itself as “the principle voice of the medical practice.” If pressed, she said she was a director and an executive but that she was “never registered as a lobbyist,” which was true, and also a transparent dodge. Norton headed an office of lobbyists.
Three years later, the American League of Lobbyists is seeing if its members want to go the Norton route and ditch the word “lobbyist” for something less familiar. According to the New York Times via The Hill, a popular suggestion for any rebranding effort would be “Government Relations Professionals.”
The Times adds that there are 12,407 registered lobbyists in DC, but that that number doesn’t include many former members of Congress, who prefer not to be stained with the popular title and so remain unregistered as lobbyists even while carrying out a high-end version of the same activities, usually under the title “senior adviser.”
Jane Norton’s name began popping up again in Colorado politics circles this summer, as the GOP struggled to find strong candidates to run for state offices and as Weld County DA Ken Buck, who defeated her in the Senate primary in 2010, announced he would be running again this year.
The Norton mentions quickly faded.[ Image of Jane Norton via YouTube ]