Lobbyists Get Their Guns, RomanoffGate and More in Capital Eye Opener: June 4

Written by Evan Mackinder


LOBBYISTS GET THEIR GUNS: They say that nothing can get between a lobbyist and his targeted lawmaker. And when they say it in Texas, they really mean it.

A new state law is causing slowdowns at the entrance to the state capitol building, and frustrated lobbyists are taking up arms in an effort to maintain quick access to state representatives.

handgun-thumb-160x140-581-thumb-160x140-1104Visitors to the Capitol must all now pass through security checkpoints to secure entry.  The only people exempted, reports the Houston Chronicle, are state lawmakers, properly identified state employees -- and Texans who carry a pistol with a proper concealed handgun license. Just the license alone will suffice, as it's enough to gain that person access to an express lane that bypasses the laborious checkpoints.

The new law was enacted in the wake of an incident earlier this year, when a man opened fire on the steps of the Capitol after visiting a state senator. A spokeswoman for the Capitol's security team said that Texans licensed to carry handguns are exempted because they have already passed the necessary background checks to give them the legal authorization to carry a gun.

IN THE MARKET FOR A HIGH-LEVEL FEDERAL JOB? Now might be the time to apply. Only, forget the paperwork: All you have to do, it seems, is challenge an incumbent Democratic senator for his or her seat this November. Yes, hot on the heels of Sestakgate, the White House on Thursday confirmed that it made early overtures to U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff of Colorado in an effort to keep him from entering the state's Democratic primary. The administration acknowledges approaching Romanoff about a possible post last year, when it was rumored that Romanoff had plans to challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet -- the White House's candidate of choice. Both Romanoff and the White House say no job was actually offered in the course of talks. But officials acknowledge discussing the possibility of bringing Romanoff on to fill one of three open posts, including one that Romanoff had previously applied for in early 2009, around the time of President Barack Obama's transition to power.

At least one of those posts has seemingly gone to a qualified bidder. Leocadia Zak, a donor to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, currently sits in one talked-about job at USAID, the governmental relief agency, reports Politico. Romanoff and Bennett will compete in a democratic primary on August 7.

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