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如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(一):K街新人

更新时间:2017-9-2 10:03:47 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington
如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(一):K街新人

As for so many other people, election night did not pan out quite the way Robert Stryk expected. Stryk began the night slumped in a Morton’s steakhouse in downtown Washington, tuning out the guests at his watch party to type out the campaign announcement of a buddy who — in the wake of Donald J. Trump’s all-but-certain defeat and the Republican Party implosion that was sure to follow — planned to make a long-shot bid for chairman of the Republican National Committee. He ended it by closing down the bar at the Mayflower Hotel, and after the race was called, giddily marching down Connecticut Avenue with his friends as they chanted, ‘‘Make America Great Again!’’

和很多人一样,总统大选之夜并没有完全以罗伯特·斯特莱克(Robert Stryk)所期望的那种方式进行。当天晚上,斯特莱克先是来到华盛顿市中心的莫顿牛排馆出席他主办的观选派对,他把宾客们甩在一边,开始给一个朋友写一篇竞选公告,鉴于唐纳德·J·特朗普肯定会失败,紧跟着共和党也会崩盘,此人抱着碰碰运气的心态打算竞选共和党全国委员会主席。最后他关掉了位于五月花酒店的吧台,宣告派对结束,竞选结果出来了,他和朋友们沿康涅狄格大道晃晃悠悠地走着,一路高呼,“恢复美国伟大荣光!”

Stryk, who owned a lobbying firm so small it didn’t actually have an office, spent most of his time in California and owned a small vineyard in Oregon, and he had helped out the Trump campaign as a sort of informal West Coast hand. He was still reveling in Trump’s upset win two nights later, over a bottle of wine on the patio of the Four Seasons in Georgetown, when a chocolate Lab padded over to his table to sniff his crotch. Stryk and the dog’s owner got to talking about wine and cigars and finally, like most of the country, about Trump. It turned out that she worked for New Zealand’s Embassy in Washington. New Zealand’s prime minister still hadn’t connected with the new president-elect, she told Stryk — a diplomatic and political embarrassment. Stryk cocked an eye across the table. ‘‘What if I said I could get you the number of someone to call the president?’’ he asked her.

斯特莱克拥有一家小型游说公司,小到连办公室都没有,他大部分时间都在加利福尼亚州,还在俄勒冈州拥有一座小葡萄园。作为某种非正式的西海岸工作人员,他在特朗普的竞选中帮了忙。大选两天过后,他仍然陶醉在特朗普的那场天翻地覆的胜利之中。那天晚上,他来到乔治城四季酒店的露台,开了一瓶葡萄酒,一只巧克力色的拉布拉多犬轻轻走到他的桌边,嗅了嗅他的胯部。斯特莱克和狗主人聊起了葡萄酒和雪茄,最后,像这个国家的大多数人一样,聊到了特朗普。原来,这位狗主人在新西兰驻华盛顿大使馆工作。她告诉斯特莱克,新西兰总理还没有同新当选的候任总统取得联络——这在外交和政治上都很尴尬。桌对面的斯特莱克扬起眉毛。“如果我告诉你,我可以给你某人的电话,他能联系上总统呢?”他问她。

The following afternoon, Stryk found himself in a cab, headed for a meeting with New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, Tim Groser. Stryk was more than a little nervous. On the way over, he called a friend named Stuart Jolly, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who ran Trump’s field operation during the Republican primary and spent election night with Stryk at Morton’s. Jolly reached out to someone he knew in the Trump high command and delivered a cell number, but Stryk didn’t know if it would actually work. At the embassy, Groser invited him in, uncorked a bottle of pinot noir and called the prime minister to pass along the number. A week later, President-elect Trump was finally able to accept a congratulatory phone call. But even before the call went through, plans and possibilities were blooming in Stryk’s mind. ‘‘I said to myself: ‘This could be very, very interesting,’ ’’ he told me when I first met him this spring. ‘‘ ‘The world’s going to change.’ ’’

第二天下午,斯特莱克就坐上出租车,前往会见新西兰驻美国大使蒂姆·格罗泽(Tim Groser)了。他很紧张。途中,他打电话给一个名叫斯图尔特·乔利(Stuart Jolly)的朋友,此人是退役陆军中校,在共和党初选期间负责过特朗普的外勤工作,竞选当天晚上也在莫顿,和斯特莱克在一起。乔利联络了特朗普团队高层里他认识的某个人,给了斯特莱克一个电话号码,但斯特莱克不知道这是否管用。在大使馆,格罗泽邀请他进屋,开了一瓶黑皮诺葡萄酒,给新西兰总理打电话,告知他这个号码。一个星期之后,候任总统特朗普终于可以接一个祝贺电话了。但是,在电话打通之前,斯特莱克的脑子里就已经塞满了各种计划和可能性。“我对自己说:‘这事情非常非常有意思,’”今年春天,我们初次见面时,他告诉我。“世界就要改变了。”

Stryk, who grew up in Arizona, had bounced around the minor leagues of politics for most of his adult life. At 41, he has the frenetic energy of a serial entrepreneur and the motley résumé to match. After dropping out of college to intern on Capitol Hill, Stryk wrote voter-contact scripts for a Republican P.R. firm, helped start a political job-listing website and eventually opened his own Beltway lobbying shop, Sonoran Policy Group. The firm almost collapsed in 2009, after Stryk tried to acquire a troubled Maryland-based security-guard business. Stryk decamped to California, owing thousands of dollars in back rent, and reinvented S.P.G. as a procurement and political-consulting business. He traded tequila shots with the California congressman Dana Rohrabacher, ran for mayor of a town in Napa Valley, handled P.R. for an arms dealer accused of smuggling weapons to Libya — the case was dropped last fall — and helped clients sell the government everything from flashlights to missile-guidance software. By the time he hooked up with the Trump campaign, Stryk had hustled his way to a good living, and he knew his way around Washington. But he was no one’s idea of a Beltway insider.

斯特莱克在亚利桑那州长大,成年后大部分时间混迹于一些不入流的政界圈子。今年41岁的他有着一个连续创业者的疯狂能量,履历也是个大杂烩。从大学退学后,斯特莱克来到国会山实习,为一家共和党公关公司编写选民联络脚本,参与开办了一个政治求职网站,最终开了自己的华盛顿游说工作室,名为“索诺伦政策集团”(Sonoran Policy Group,下称SPG)。2009年,斯特莱克试图收购马里兰州一家陷入困境的保安公司,结果他的游说公司也差点垮掉。他欠下数千美元的房租,逃到加利福尼亚,并把SPG重组为采购和政治咨询公司。他与加州议员达纳·罗拉巴克尔(Dana Rohrabacher)共饮龙舌兰酒,竞选纳帕谷内某镇的镇长,为一个被指控向利比亚走私武器的军火商担任公关(这个案子于去年撤诉了),还帮助客户向政府推销各种物品,从手电筒到导弹制导软件。和特朗普的竞选团队搭上关系时,斯特莱克已经通过自己的打拼过上了好日子,他在华盛顿有了门路。但没有人认为他是华盛顿精英圈的内部人士。

When the phone call to Trump went through, Stryk saw the geography of a new world forming before his eyes. Interests that spent millions of dollars studying Washington and shaping it to their liking had been taken totally by surprise by Trump’s win. The rules had changed, and no one was sure what the new ones were. For Stryk, it was the opportunity he had been waiting for. As he saw it, the lobbying old guard — the guys that threw down black Amex cards at Joe’s Crab and sent fat quarterly bills to clients they barely did any work for — were on the defensive. New people would have a chance. People like Stryk.

当那个给特朗普的电话打通的时候,斯特莱克感到一个新世界的地图在他眼前成型了。利益集团斥资数百上千万美元研究华盛顿,并且按照自己的心意去塑造它,现在特朗普的胜利令他们彻底震惊。规则已经改变,但没有人确定新的规则会是什么。对于斯特莱克来说,这是他一直在等待的机会。正如他所看到的那样,那些游说界的老兵们——在Joe's Crab餐厅掏出美国运通黑卡,向他们几乎没提供过任何服务的客户发送厚厚的季度账单的那群人——正处在守势。新人的机会来了。就是像斯特莱克这样的新人。

New Zealand was a prime example. Groser and his staff had spent months researching Hillary Clinton, calculating who among her vast claque would win positions of power and influence in her administration. The main thing they knew about Trump was that he had sworn to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the complex 12-nation trade deal that Groser helped negotiate. Stryk, offering to work free, had a proposal. New Zealand would throw the biggest party of Trump’s inauguration. Stryk would put the new administration’s leading lights in the room; Groser would do the rest. ‘‘It was about building brand recognition for New Zealand,’’ Stryk explained. ‘‘If we can get them there, then forever, bad or good, Trump and New Zealand are a co-brand.’’

新西兰是最好的例子。格罗泽和他的幕僚花了几个月时间研究希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton),推算她的大批扈从之中谁会有可能在她的政府中得到实权。关于特朗普,他们知道的最主要的一件事就是,此人发誓要让美国退出跨太平洋伙伴关系(Trans-Pacific Partnership),格罗泽也参与了这项复杂的12国贸易协定的谈判工作。主动提出免费为他们工作的斯特莱克有个提议。新西兰可以为特朗普的就职典礼举办一场最大的派对。斯特莱克可以请来新政府的几位重要人物;剩下的就是格罗泽的事了。“这是在为新西兰建立品牌认知,”斯特莱克解释说。“如果我们可以把他们弄来,之后,不管好坏,特朗普和新西兰就永远都是挂钩的品牌。”

In the tumult following Trump’s win, Stryk was discovering that many of his old friends — most of them fellow Washington backbenchers, B-listers and understudies — had vaulted to positions of unexpected influence. A guy Stryk knew at the inaugural committee put out the word among Trump alums that New Zealand’s party was the week’s hot ticket. Stryk called a friend at Salem Media, the right-leaning media-and-talk-radio company, which signed on as a party sponsor. Another friend, the actor Jon Voight, agreed to attend as a special celebrity guest.

在特朗普获胜后的喧哗之中,斯特莱克发现他的许多老朋友——其中大多数是华盛顿的后座议员、二流人物和替补角色——都获得了提升,得到了他们始料未及的影响力。斯特莱克在就职典礼委员会里认识的一个人在特朗普的圈子里放出话说,新西兰的派对是本周的热门事件。斯特莱克给他在萨兰姆传媒(Salem Media,一家有右翼倾向的媒体兼谈话节目广播公司)工作的朋友打了个电话,于是这家公司签约成了派对赞助商。他的另一位朋友,演员琼恩·沃伊特(Jon Voight),同意作为特邀嘉宾出席。

In January, hundreds of guests packed into to the embassy’s chancery, among them dozens of Trump-campaign alumni and future West Wing staff. Stryk rented a tuxedo jacket for the occasion. Groser gave a Trump-friendly speech, lauding the end of political correctness and the dawn of a new era in Kiwi-American relations. ‘‘We had a party that rocked, frankly,’’ he told me recently. In one night, New Zealand had upended Washington’s elaborate diplomatic pecking order. Diplomats and social secretaries at other embassies were left wondering how the country had pulled in so many Trump V.I.P.s. Trumpworld, previously inscrutable and unreachable to Groser’s team, was now populated by friendly faces. ‘‘Robert showed, ‘I’m connected,’ ’’ he told me.

今年一月,数百名客人涌入新西兰大使馆的大厅,其中包括几十位特朗普竞选活动中的人员和未来白宫西翼的幕僚。斯特莱克特意租了一身礼服。格罗泽发表了一番向特朗普示好的讲话,为政治正确的末日唱赞歌,声称美新关系即将迎来新时代。“坦率地说,我们举行了一场很棒的派对,”前不久,他告诉我。一夜之间,新西兰便颠覆了华盛顿精心设计的外交等级秩序。其他使馆的外交官和社交秘书不明白,新西兰是怎么找来这么多特朗普身边的大人物,特朗普的世界对于格罗泽的团队来说曾经那样难以捉摸、不可企及,现在却变成了一张张友善的面孔。“罗伯特证明了‘我有人脉’,”他告诉我。

Groser decided to hire Stryk full time. Not long after, Stryk pulled $250,000 out of his savings, moved his family to the Washington suburbs and started hiring.

格罗泽决定全职雇用斯特莱克。不久后,斯特莱克从积蓄中拿出25万美元,全家人搬到华盛顿的郊区,并且开始招人。

There are about 10,000 registered lobbyists in Washington — roughly 20 for every member of Congress — and thousands more unregistered ones: consultants and ‘‘strategic advisers’’ who are paid to help shape government policy but do not disclose their clients. By whatever name, they are the people companies and countries hire to help roll back regulations, unstick bids, tweak legislation or get meetings. Lobbying is at once Washington’s most maligned, enduring and essential industry. Underpaid young politicos and retiring lawmakers depend on Beltway lobby shops — known as ‘‘K Street’’ after the city boulevard that once housed many of them — for the high-six-figure salaries that will loft them into Washington’s petite aristocracy. Congress needs K Street, too: After decades of cutting its own staff and research arms, much of Capitol Hill’s institutional memory and policy expertise now resides in the lobbying industry. But the private sector needs lobbyists the most. The modern federal government is so sprawling and complex that it practically demands a specialized class of middlemen and -women.

在华盛顿约有一万名注册游说者——大约相当于每个国会议员对应20名游说者——还有数千名未注册的咨询师和“战略顾问”,他们收钱去影响政府政策,却不透露自己客户的身份。无论以什么名义,他们都是被公司和国家聘请,帮助撤回规定、撤销投标、调整立法或安排会面的人。游说是华盛顿最恶劣、最持久同时又必不可少的行业之一。低收入的年轻政治从业者和退休议员们靠着华盛顿的游说行业——这个行业被称为“K街”,因曾经容纳诸多游说办公室的城市大道得名——赚取高达六位数的薪水,跻身华盛顿的小小权贵圈。国会也需要K街:经过数十年的幕僚和调研机构裁减,如今国会山的体制记忆和政策技能有相当一部分存在于游说行业中。但是最需要游说者的还是那些私营部门。现代联邦政府如此庞大而复杂,的确需要一个专门的中间人阶层。

Over the decades, lobbying has evolved from a niche trade of fixers and gatekeepers to a sleek, vertically integrated, $3-billion-a-year industry. A good lobbyist doesn’t go into a meeting asking for legislation; she or he already has the bill drafted, a coalition of businesses and trade groups poised to support it, a policy brief to hand out to reporters and to the officials positioned at dozens of decision points throughout the bureaucracy and relationships with advertising and polling firms to manage the public rollout. Everyone has a lobbyist — or three, or 50 — and the lobbyists know everyone. K Street is majestic and immovable, veined through Washington like fat through a prime steak.

几十年来,游说行业已经从撮合者与看门人构成的细分行业,演变为一个垂直整合的阔绰行业,每年创收30亿美元。一个好的游说者不会参与某个要求立法的会议;她或他已经起草了相关法案,会有一个企业和行业组织联盟已经准备好支持它,他或她会向记者和位于官僚体系和关系网当中数十个决策点的官员们发送政策简报,并请来广告公司与民意调查公司负责向公众推出这项法案。所有人都有游说者——也许三个,也许50个——游说者也认识所有人。K街是庄严而不可动摇的,它贯穿华盛顿的血脉,就像上等牛排里的脂肪一样。

Like virtually every other candidate for president, Trump campaigned against this thicket of money and influence, positioning himself as an outsider who would ‘‘drain the swamp.’’ This pledge would soon prove more rhetorical than real, but it contained a grain of truth. Trump arrived in Washington with a relatively short baggage train of Beltway relationships and obligations. He didn’t read policy briefs; he barely had policies. His inner circle was a hodgepodge of Breitbart alumni, nominally Democratic financiers, Trump Organization employees on loan, the odd reality-show star and Republicans who would have been unemployable in almost any other administration. The smart money in Washington — K Street and K Street’s clients, the big corporations and trade associations — didn’t quite know what to expect. But mostly, they didn’t know whom to call.

和几乎所有总统候选人一样,特朗普在竞选中反对这些错综复杂的资金和势力,他把自己定位为局外人,将会“抽干沼泽”。这个承诺后来被很快证明只是夸大其词,但其中也包含着一丝真相。特朗普来到华盛顿时,他与华盛顿精英之间的关系和人情相对较少。他不读政策简报;基本上也没什么政策。他的核心小圈子鱼龙混杂,有前布莱巴特(Breitbart)员工、有名无实的民主党筹款人、从特朗普集团借调的雇员、怪兮兮的真人秀明星,以及在其他几乎任何一届政府当中都肯定找不到工作的共和党人。脑筋活络的华盛顿金主——K街和K街客户,大公司和行业协会——都不太清楚未来会发生什么。但最主要的是,他们不知道该给谁打电话。

‘‘Many companies want to understand: What are the president’s priorities?’’ Corey Lewandowski told me in February, a few weeks after the inauguration. ‘‘But there are so few people in Washington who have a relationship or an understanding of him.’’ Lewandowski, the president’s former campaign manager, was happy to tell you that he was one of the few exceptions.

“许多公司想要了解:总统的优先事项是什么?”曾为特朗普竞选经理的科里·莱万多夫斯基(Corey Lewandowski)在二月份总统就职几周后告诉我。“但华盛顿和他搭上关系或是了解他的人就那么几个。”莱万多夫斯基可以高兴地告诉你,他就是那寥寥几人之一。

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