Lobby Group's 'No Dough' Strategy Stops at Executives' Doors

John M. Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was paid $1.2 million last year, a 42 percent raise. U.S. manufacturing during that time rose 5 percent.
John M. Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was paid $1.2 million last year, a 42 percent raise. U.S. manufacturing during that time rose 5 percent. (2005 Photo By Juana Arias -- The Washington Post)

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By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The National Association of Manufacturers, one of Washington's oldest and most deeply established trade groups, has an unconventional streak.

Most lobbies are eager to shower politicians they like (or need) with campaign contributions, and proudly maintain political action committees to do so. They also try to keep their executives' salaries from growing conspicuously large, for reasons of good public relations and common sense.

NAM apparently has a different view on both issues.

In a newsletter called Association Bisnow, the group's president, John M. Engler, said he is glad not to have a PAC and is happy to be unable to give money away to candidates for federal office. In an article headlined "Engler Has a 'No Dough' Strategy," the former Michigan governor said, "It's nice walking into someone's office knowing that you did not spend money to defeat them."

I guess the pleasure that other lobbyists feel walking into the offices of lawmakers that they helped to put there is not as heady an experience.

In any case, Engler's no-dough strategy does not extend to the executives at his trade group.

Compensation for its top officers and key staff members rose 30 percent in 2006, according to tax records first obtained by CEO Update magazine. Engler received the biggest increase, taking home $1.2 million in compensation, a 42 percent rise from 2005.

Jay Timmons, NAM's senior vice president for policy and government relations, received $501,000 in pay last year. In 2005, he earned $228,975 for roughly three months of work after joining the trade group in September of that year. LeAnne Wilson, NAM's chief operating officer, received $249,000 in compensation in 2006, a 54 percent boost.

The industry that NAM represents has not been doing nearly as well as the trade group's senior executives. According to Federal Reserve data, U.S. manufacturing rose about 5 percent in 2006 compared with 2005.

Mailer Madness in Virginia

Former congressman Robert L. Livingston (R-La.) is fuming over a mailing by the Democratic Party of Virginia that attacks one of his firm's lobbyists, Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Va.).

The flier, which says it was paid for by the party and authorized by Hugo's Democratic challenger, Rex Simmons, asserts that Hugo "lobbied for a company under government investigation for unethical contracts in Iraq."

A footnote on the mailer indicates that the company was CACI International, an Arlington-based government contractor that the Livingston Group once lobbied for.


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