Lobbyist has an edge in ties to Rep. Young
WASHINGTON — To understand how this city works, how it is fueled by connections and insider knowledge as much as it is by bills, amendments and debate, consider Doug Gregory.
The St. Petersburg native worked as chief of staff and House Appropriations Committee aide to U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young for 36 years. Then he became a lobbyist.
Gregory's job now is helping defense contractors get money from his old boss. This year, he got $10.6 million.
Young, 79, is one of the all-time appropriations kings, using years of accumulated power to secure hundreds of millions in "earmarks," the insider term for money lawmakers siphon off for projects of their liking. Young and Gregory prefer a softer description: "congressional initiatives."
Gregory, 61, is only doing what scores of aides-turned-lobbyists do each day. But he and Young play roles in a system that many feel is flawed and wasteful, a web of cozy ties, campaign contributions and lax oversight.