They Have Nothing to Apologize For

In the last few days executives of AT&T and Novartis have apologized for hiring Trump fixer and soon-to-be-fitted-for-a-striped-jumpsuit lawyer Michael Cohen to lobby for their companies.

In The Curmudgeon’s eyes, they have nothing to apologize for.  Businesses hire lobbyists all the time.  Some are former members of Congress or former members of congressional staff, some are former high-ranking officials in the executive branch of the federal government, some are well-placed lawyers. Companies don’t hire such people because they’re nice guys and smart and know a lot of stuff.  No, they hire them because they know people and think such people can place a call and reach high-ranking officials in government who are making decisions that will affect their businesses.  They’re hiring them for their influence, for their ability to get things done and influence future public policy in ways that benefit their businesses (or at least don’t hurt their businesses).

Coming soon: three hots and a cot?

In hiring Cohen, AT&T and Novartis – and there may very well be others we learn about in the coming weeks – did nothing wrong.  They identified a guy they thought would give them great access to the president and be able to convey messages important to them at just the right time.  They hired a guy they thought would be able to protect their interests in much the way they perceived that he had protected the president’s interests for many years.

Okay, so maybe they DO need to apologize to their shareholders for spending company money on a guy who turned out to be a total yutz, but there’s yuuuuuge difference between making a bad decision and making a wrong one.  Yes, they picked the wrong guy, but no, they didn’t do something that was itself inherently wrong.

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