Certain types of politicians like to complain about lobbyists as if they are insidious creatures trying to influence the lawmaking process with their campaign donations.
A truer story is that politicians see K Street as a bank from which they can draw campaign funds and, upon retirement, lucrative sinecures.
This story in Roll Call today has some telling details:
Members on both sides of the aisle and their professional fundraisers have squeezed in events from dawn until the wee hours of the morning. They’re trying to extract every available dollar from the K Street and political action community in the remaining legislative days before Members shift all of their attention to the campaign trail….
Lobbyists say they are feeling the crush.
“The period of time that remains is going to be totally supercharged in terms of fundraising,” said the OB-C Group’s Larry O’Brien, a high-dollar donor to Democrats. “It’s an absolute blizzard. A tsunami. It’s completely and utterly intense.”
Last week alone, Kathryn Lehman, a Republican partner at Holland & Knight, received at least 59 email invitations for September fundraisers. Many more, she said, were already deleted and couldn’t be counted.
I’ve written repeatedly about a broader point: lobbyists are not simply the lever by which business moves politicians, they are often the lever by which politicians move businesses. This is not only extracting cash from businesses, but changing their policy views to be more government-friendly.