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Paul Ryan Wife Worked as a Lobbyist: Why the Career of Janna Ryan Deserves Our Concern

When her husband was officially announced as Romney’s running mate, Janna Ryan was introduced to America as a caring and nurturing stay at home mom. While that image is true in the present, a look back at her career leads one to discover the decade she invested in Washington first as a congressional aide, and later as a corporate lobbyist. As a lobbyist, Mrs. Paul Ryan represented the interests of clients in the cigar industry, a logging company, drug makers, the health insurance industry, and a nuclear power plant. The knowledge of her involvement in these lobbying efforts raises valid concern as to what role lobbyists would be allowed to play in influencing the policies of the Romney-Ryan administration. A peek into the success she had in her job certainly warrants consideration of that notion as a rather distinct albeit quite disturbing possibility.

Janna Little was very successful at her job up until the moment she left, shortly after her marriage to the now presumptive vice presidential nominee. It is projected by the Center for Responsive Politics that in just three years, the corporate clients she represented paid over $2.7 million in fees to her employers, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Williams and Jensen.

The roster of her clients includes some of America’s most powerful corporate entities in their respective fields. In the drug industry, Janna Ryan represented the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Alliance as well as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Novartis. In the healthcare field, she lobbied for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna. In the oil industry, Conocco and Marathon Oil were among the clients she serviced.

Ryan was part of a small team that lobbied on behalf of the Cigar Association of America pressuring Congress and the White House to exempt cigars from regulation such as warning labels and excise taxes. This lobbying effort was aimed  at fighting congressional scrutiny that escalated amidst revelations towards the turn of the century that companies manufacturing cigars had concocted a well devised plan to make cigars look cool in order to draw attention away from their potential health hazards. It resulted in a hefty paycheck of $760,000 for Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Throughout this same time frame, Ryan and her colleague Pat Raffianello were also busy representing the interesst of the cigar industry through a trade group which sought to limit the impact potential regulation might have on the booming success of cigar sales in convenience stores.  This effort added $240,000 to the account of Ryan’s employer.

Other lobbying efforts in which Ryan was involved include her representation of the Vermont Yankee Corp and the United Parcel Service. The former earned her company $180,000 between 1998 and 2000 while the latter merited $220,000 worth of fees. It is worth noting that Ryan was a part of the lobbying effort that defeated a postal reform bill which was designed to make the U.S. Postal Service more profitable. The ripples of her work in defeating this bill were felt earlier this month, when the Postal Service defaulted on payments to the U.S. Treasury. 

Curiosity is sparked in regards to the motives of Ryan in such an effort when one considers the fact that her then-boyfriend who was running for his first term in the House of Representatives made a corporately funded trip from Milwaukee to the city of Atlanta where UPS is headquartered.  According to the financial disclosure reports of the then soon-to-be Congressman, the trip was paid for entirely by UPS which also flew him back to Washington.

In addition to the questions currently being posed as to why Governor Romney refuses to release more tax returns, this adds more fuel to the fire in this year’s presidential election. It can be said with certainty, that this is just one more tool the Obama campaign can use to paint both Romney and Ryan as the typical elite Americans that they clearly are. 

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