Crisis and opportunity

The FBI raids the lobbying firm of a former top Murtha aide; influence peddlers scramble for the exits. (WaPo) Geithner plan draws sharp criticism, Dow plunges; supportive friend identified. (Bloomberg,WSJ) Mack will pledge, Lewis will dodge, Pandit will promise, Blankfein will mourn. Committee will care? (FT) Wal-Mart, taking advantage of the economic crisis, renews its …

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Ex-cerpt of the day

Obama has proven himself a genius when it comes to negotiating elite social networks and cultivating strategic relationships. Recent miscalculations aside, his political career has benefitted from some very fancy footwork, with plenty of lessons for the LittleSis community. We have, at times, gotten an inside peek at Obama’s negotiations of various power circles. Case …

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Beltway buzz

LittleSis for Washington insiders, in this week’s National Journal: The biggest value LittleSis offers is not so much the details it provides but the ties it highlights. “In a city like Washington that functions off of connections … having an online Rolodexing system to figure out these connections is a valuable tool,” said Scott Goodstein, …

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More names in the news

We’ve gotten a good response to the NameWire, so we are going to start publishing it daily, in a more prominent place on the front page, starting Monday. Let us know what you think of the name in the comments (and if you have other ideas). In the meantime, here’s another set of clips: Aspects …

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Testing out the Wire

Today we’re testing out a feature that may appear on the LittleSis start page daily. Tentatively called the NameWire, it is a collection of quick summaries of major news stories with links to the LittleSis profiles of the people that appear in those stories. We see it as a way to offer relevant entrypoints into …

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Privatization advocates led Obama transportation review effort

The privatization of transportation infrastructure was supposed to be a Bush administration goal, but based on my (LittleSis-powered) review of Obama’s transition team, it is a major priority of the new administration, as well. All three of the Obama transition team leads charged with reviewing the Department of Transportation are privatization advocates. Not only that, …

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Who is Mort Downey?

LittleSis brings transparency to the quiet names: people who are not necessarily officeholders, who may not be very well-known, but who exert significant influence over the policymaking process. They make decisions and advocate for policies that affect our lives in profound ways, but we are not well-equipped to hold them accountable or understand their sphere …

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Geithner’s chief of staff lobbied Geithner’s Fed?

Mark Patterson, Tim Geithner’s new chief of staff and a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, appears to have been lobbying the Fed – Geithner was president of the New York Fed – shortly after Bear Stearns collapsed last spring. According to a 2008 lobbying disclosure filing, Patterson – along with Ann Costello and Faryar Shirzad – …

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Irony at Treasury

Is it just me or is it kind of ironic – also brash and stupid – for Tim Geithner to hire a lobbyist who has worked on immigration reform issues as his chief of staff? Shortly after facing questions about the immigration status of his former housekeeper, ABC News reports that Geithner’s new chief of …

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Connecting the DOTs on Wall Street & Infrastructure

Last week, the news broke that infrastructure spending had been cut from the stimulus bill to make way for tax cuts. Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, first shed light on this tradeoff — transit funding for tax cuts, essentially — in a speech to the US Conference of Mayors. The …

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WaPo asks: Who Runs Gov?

Yesterday’s launch of WhoRunsGov, a Washington Post site, marks an interesting development in the history of the transparency movement: it is a groundbreaking attempt by mainstream media to shed light on influential social networks through crowdsourcing and data aggregation. From the site: WhoRunsGov.com offers a unique look at the world of Washington through its key …

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“Le facebook inversé”

LittleSis has crossed the pond: Le Monde’s blog Bonne Nouvelle plugged the site today, and France’s first couple showed up soon after. Bonne Nouvelle is big into optimism, and we’re happy the site was presented in that context; LittleSis is all about political hope for our ailing democracy. An excerpt from the post (translation thanks …

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