Grover Norquist has way too much free time on his hands.
Conservative activist Grover Norquist is seeking a trademark on "K Street Project," saying Democrats and Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have wrongfully acquired the term to describe unethical practices that have nothing to do with his organization.
Far from running away from the term, as most other Republicans have since January, when lobbyist Jack Abramoff agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges, Norquist is embracing it.
Norquist said he founded the K Street Project in 1989 to bring ideological balance to lobbying firms. His group distributes weekly jobs bulletins by e-mail to 250 subscribers. This week's bulletin is a 75-page dossier with positions at the Federal Election Commission, Merrill Lynch, the American Health Care Association, WellPoint and Home Depot.
Norquist said, "We argued to K Street - to trade associations, Fortune 500 companies, the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers - you should hire people who agree with you philosophically. That means, labor unions, you should hire liberals."
But the phrase "K Street Project" has since come to encompass a nefarious practice of Republican lawmakers pressuring groups to hire right-leaning employees; Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was admonished by the House ethics committee for doing so in 1998.
Norquist's trademark application could take up to a year and a half to be processed.
"Some people say Kleenex when they mean tissue," Norquist said. "We will jealously guard the real phrasing the way Kleenex and Coca-Cola do. We will sue anyone who says it wrong and make lots of money."