Magazine article American Banker

'You Have to Truly Enjoy the Political Process.' (Barnett Bank Lobbyist Marty Farmer Discusses Lobbying Process) (Behind the Scenes)

Magazine article American Banker

'You Have to Truly Enjoy the Political Process.' (Barnett Bank Lobbyist Marty Farmer Discusses Lobbying Process) (Behind the Scenes)

Article excerpt

When he was a boy, back home in Chicago, Marty Farmer earned extra money for school by delivering beer to some local taverns.

He remembers one of those saloons particularly well; the Rostenkowskis lived next door.

When he went to Washington years later as a young lobbyist for First National Bank of Chicago, the relationship he developed in his beer-hauling days would serve him well. Dan Rostenkowski was an influential member of Congress, who would later become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Today, though, the 53-year-old Mr. Farmer is a power in his own right. A commuter lobbyist who arrives in Washington Tuesday morning and leaves town Thursday night (the same pattern followed by most members of Congress), Mr. Farmer wields influence now on behalf of Florida-based Barnett Banks Inc.

Part of his power stems from relationships he has spent a lifetime developing.

From the old Illinois group Rep. Rostenkowski, former Democratic Rep. Frank Annunzio, House Republican Leader Robert Michel Mr. Farmer networked out. Today he is on a first-name basis with most of official Washington, from the House leaders to the men and women who staff the regulatory agencies.

"Time and experience mean a lot," he said. "You have to truly enjoy the political process."

But a good deal of his clout stems from his pocketbook.

Barnett Banks has one of the largest political action committees in the banking industry or any other industry, for that matter. …

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