Donkeys and Elephants, Giving Together

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Today's Politico notes the trend among stalwart Republican lobbyists and ex-legislators of giving an increasing amount of money to Democrats as the "price of doing business" with a Democrat-controlled Congress. Among those writing checks across the aisle is lobbyist and ex-Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), for whom apparent contradiction is the order of day: according to the article his big clients include Northrup Grumman and the Girl Scouts. Now there's a merit badge opportunity.

In such a charged, partisan environment when Democrats and Republicans are all but holding up affidavits from the devil testifying to his collusion with the opposing party it seems like donating across party lines is a particularly bold-faced demonstration of how dependent the K Street corridor is on campaign contributions to grease the wheels of power. Idealogy dies hard, but it seems loss of clients (and revenue) dies harder:


On the one hand, there’s nothing particularly surprising about the switch. Money from the lobbying world always flows to where the power is. Campaign contributions from K Street have swung heavily toward Democrats since they seized the majority, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Since the beginning of this election cycle, lobbyists have given $9.15 million to Democrats and $7.2 million to Republicans, a 56 percent to 44 percent proportion. In the 2005-06 cycle, by contrast, Republicans got 57 percent of lobbyist dollars.

But this is a sea change for men who once treated getting and keeping GOP control of Congress as something akin to a blood sport. Even though their contributions to Republican lawmakers still far outpace what they’re giving to Democrats, neither the symbolism of the contributions nor the reality to which it speaks is lost on anyone in political Washington.


I suppose if your business is getting Congress to take your phone calls it behooves you to cover the spread when you write out your campaign contributions for the year, just don't expect us to believe it's motivated by your belief in a lawmaker or candidate, or sudden appreciation for a political idealogy entirely different from your own: it's a game, you play it, and we'd like to change it.