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Pack Mentality

Remember that story a couple of weeks back about a memo instructing staffers in Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) office to give unrestricted access to certain "A-Team" lobbyists? Well, some of those same names are showing up again on the list of people who've donated to Young after his chief of staff reminded them in an email that if Young loses his re-election bid amid accusations of corruption, "you and your clients will be impacted."

A Beautiful Friendship

The Washington Post examines Rick Davis' vital role in Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, and his history with the Senator which they describe as a "relationship [. .

More on the "A Team"

Yesterday, Katie pointed to an "intern guide" leaked out of Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) office. The guide listed an "A Team" of lobbyists who were to be given access to any Young staff member they wanted.


It's of course no surprise that big corporate lobbyists get special treatment in Washington.


Young's "A Team"

Lobbyists who gave thousands to Rep. Don Young (R-AK) over the course of his career were on an "A Team" granted special access to Young and his staff, according to an unofficial "survival guide" for interns in Young's office obtained by The Hill. In addition to explaining the preferences and quirks of Rep. Young and his wife, the guide lists the lobbyists who were given access to any staff member they wanted.

Identifying the Threat

Breaking news: not all lobbyists are evil people. In related news, "lobbying" signifies so many different types of activities undertaken in pursuit of so many goals that to vilify or exonerate the whole profession is a useless enterprise. Instead, let's get after the real danger here: big campaign contributions from lobbyists (and their clients) that come in around about the same time key legislation is being debated and voted on. Lobbying isn't wrong, legalized bribery is.

Well-Timed Giving

From an article in The Hill by "K Street Insider" Thomas Spulak on best practices for lobbyists giving campaign contributions: "The more time between making a campaign contribution and requesting official action, the better." Timing is, as they say, everything.

Revenue for the Reformer

As Senators Barack Obama and John McCain head out on the fundraising trail as their parties presumptive nominees for President, the Washington Post wonders how the two, who have each exerted considerable effort to frame themselves as reformers out to change the way campaigns are financed, go about navigating the big money game in their race for the White House.

One way to shore up the change-agent image would be to endorse full public financing of elections for all federal campaigns -- something Obama has done, but McCain has not. What else are they doing?

Lolly Gagging

More bad news for Sen. John McCain on the lobbyist front: ThinkProgress expands on the MSNBC report that former Sen. Phil Gramm, one of McCain's economic advisors, was lobbying for a bank during hearings on bills to address the mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain on the very issue.

The Money Matters

This Washington Post editorial nicely illustrates why it's dangerous to get caught up in a debate about lobbyists, and miss the larger concern about the influence of private money on public policy from which all this debate stems.

Being John Lobbyist

Joel Stein at Time goes undercover as a lobbyist-for-a-day (well, "advocate" actually, according one of the Representatives he lobbies) and sadly finds no occasion to deploy the $100 bills he stuffs in his pocket. Silly rabbit, you give those out over cocktails!