¿Mi casa, tu casa? (Or, there goes the neighborhood)
You probably already know that corporate and industry lobbyists are fond of opening their wallets up to their favorite lawmakers. But it seems they’re also quite eager to open up their homes, as well. Ken Dilanian’s story, “Lobbyists find more ways to bond with lawmakers,” in USA Today looks at the practice of lobbyists using their homes and office space to entertain and fundraise on the behalf of your elected officials.
USAT also provides a cool map that shows the properties owned by lobbying firms and who they’ve entertained there.
Despite a strict new ban on gifts to lawmakers, lobbyists routinely use these prime locations to legally wine and dine members of Congress while helping them to raise money, campaign records show. The lawmakers get a venue that is often free or low-cost, a short jaunt from the Capitol. The lobbyists get precious uninterrupted moments with lawmakers — the sort of money-fueled proximity the new lobbying law was designed to curtail. The public seldom learns what happens there because the law doesn’t always require fundraising details to be reported.
For a roundup of influence-peddling laws, see CleanUpWashington.org, a site maintained by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.