Lobbyists for corporate special interests have many ways of influencing the government. One way is by simply joining it.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) -- the chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee -- tapped a top lobbyist with the American Gas Association to be the committee's senior aide on energy and environment issues.
Tom Hassenboehler, who serves as the American Gas Association's vice president of policy development and legislative affairs, will be chief counsel for the Energy and Power Subcommittee, which deals with key environmental regulations.
The American Gas Association gave Upton $4,000 during the last election cycle, and $170,500 from the oil and gas industry at large. Keep in mind that the American Gas Association is largely funded by the industry but that it does not directly disclose its donors, which leaves us guessing as to who exactly will be represented by their lobbyist who was just appointed to the committee.