Harvard’s orientation for new members of Congress is pitched as a way for incoming lawmakers to learn about life on Capitol Hill, but some new Democrats broke with precedent and criticized it. The protests from these freshman Democrats, including Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), reflect the left pull of the party, as well as their rejection of some practices once regarded as part of the bipartisan consensus.
After dinner Tuesday, lawmakers attended a session where they introduced themselves. The event included remarks by former congressman Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), who was described in an itinerary provided to The Washington Post by Harvard as vice chair in the Institute of Politics and a former member of Congress. Delahunt also founded a lobbying firm, the Delahunt Group, which in 2018 lobbied for Fuels America, a biofuel lobbying group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
On Wednesday, new lawmakers also attended “White House Congressional Relations: How to Advocate for Your Priorities.” The panel listed as speakers Dan Meyer and Anne Wall, president and vice president, respectively, of the Duberstein Group. The Duberstein Group, a multimillion-dollar lobbying firm, has lobbied for the Bank of Mellon New York, Comcast, S&P Global and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and other large corporate interests, the Center for Responsive Politics says.
On Thursday, former congressman Joseph J. Heck (R-Nev.) spoke at an event called “Navigating Washington and Capitol Hill.” After losing his seat, Heck joined the firm RedRock, according to Roll Call. He has lobbied on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association; TRAX International, a government tech firm; and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The former lawmakers' ties to lobbying firms were not disclosed on the calendar of events provided to The Post by the Harvard Institute of Politics. In a text message, a spokesman for Harvard’s Institute of Politics said freshman lawmakers “get a binder upon arrival that include lengthy bios of all participants, including their businesses.”