How Much is Too Much?

LOBBYING HAS ALWAYS been a difficult job. Yet more seems to be expected of lobbyists by the day. When it comes to fundraising, for example, “much of the pressure falls to K St.” This is resulting in the unenviable phenomenon of “no downtime.”

But the burden of fundraising is doing much more than corroding lobbyists’ leisure, which is always in short supply.  It’s also affecting their finances.  In order to meet the demands of a post-Citizens world, lobbyists are cutting more checks.  An anonymous lobbyist in the above-linked article laments how “my kids are all going to community college since I’m giving all this money away.”  Apparently time itself is no longer a sufficient sacrifice on K St.

On the one hand, nothing is new here.  Campaign pledges and donations have long been used by lobbyists for leverage.  Some have perfected the art of winning support through piecemeal contributions, effectively luring lawmakers to their cause, donation by donation, pledge by pledge.

On the other hand, everything is new.  When a certain group of robed justices blows the top off years of campaign finance precedence (which they’re primed to do again), the debris will fall for years.  The full effect of Citizens is thus yet to be felt by lobbyists.  One thing is overwhelmingly evident: the depth of their wallets has a limit, whereas what’s expected of them does not.  This forces a question upon all lobbyists struggling to stay relevant: how much is too much?

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