Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a journalist based in New York.

Recent Articles

Why Huckabee Won't Run

It would be nice if we could stop paying attention to Mike Huckabee, but the other big news about him is that he is polling well across the South . The former Arkansas governor is popular, and as Paul points out, Huckabee comes across as the likable, down-to-earth sort of Israel-loving, crypto-birther conservative. (Back in 2008, he even made an appearance , pegged to music education, at the staunchly liberal Center for American Progress, because, you know, inviting the occasional Republican over helps convince the IRS to maintain your tax-exempt designation.) But in New York magazine, John Heilemann makes an convincing case for why Huckabee won't run. In short, it's about money troubles. Huckabee himself tells Heilemann that if he does run, he's not planning another low-budget, grassroots-driven campaign. And Heilemann writes that in "political circles" the argument goes: "First, that Huckabee could never raise enough to be a plausible contender. And second, that Huckabee—who...

Republicans: Don't Even Think About Conserving Land

Hello TAP readers: I’m Sarah Laskow , a freelance reporter and writer based in New York City. But I’m also an ex-member of the D.C. media corps who’s written about homeland security, money and politics, the environment, and a host of other geeky topics. Thanks for having me. In the past couple of weeks, Republicans have been complaining extra loudly about the Obama administration’s "wild lands" policy. It's a plan to consider -- just consider -- using some of the millions of acres of public land, held by agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, for conservation. Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee held an entire hearing on the issue, and Utah’s new senator, Mike Lee, pressed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on it during the energy committee’s budget hearing. Utah, it turns out, is where this whole argument began, back in the 1990s. As The Wilderness Society’s Brad Brooks explained at a hearing: “Few people realize that the...

An Unnatural Alliance

Progressives and green
groups are lobbying alongside
energy companies in
favor of natural gas.

In places like Ithaca, New York, green advocates might be fighting to keep natural-gas companies away, but in Washington, D.C., progressive leaders and national environmental groups are ready to fight for natural gas as a source of clean energy. Take Tim Wirth. The former senator, who came to Congress in 1974 as a representative from Boulder, Colorado, asked climate guru James Hansen to testify about global warming in 1988 and worked in the State Department on climate-change issues during the Clinton administration. Long familiar with the natural-gas industry, Wirth, who now heads Ted Turner's United Nations Foundation, is pushing its leaders to cuddle up to their peers in the solar and wind industries. "What happens when the wind doesn't blow? What happens when the sun doesn't shine? It's natural gas that should be filling that gap," Wirth told natural-gas producers last summer at a conference in Colorado. "You should be the closest buddies of the wind and solar industry." Natural...

Let's Make a Deal

A look at the lobbying groups that shelled out the big bucks to influence health-care reform.

Influence: AARP, an organization for people age 50 and over, is one of the biggest players in Washington, and its health-care lobbying team increased from 36 lobbyists at the end of 2008 to 42 in the last quarter. The group has spent more than $9 million on lobbying this year.

 Demands: AARP's membership splits evenly along party lines, so the group's main priority has been discussing "the need for bipartisan action."No matter what their political persuasion, however, most older Americans stand to benefit from cuts to prescription drug prices, and AARP is using its lobbying dollars to ensure that they do.

 Results: AARP scored a victory when the pharmaceutical industry pledged to halve the rates Medicare recipients pay out of pocket for prescription drugs once they've exhausted their yearly benefits. The House Energy and Commerce Committee bill also allows the federal government to negotiate prices for drugs purchased under Medicare, which tends to save...