Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Political Campaigns

By Ronald J. Hrebenar; Matthew J. Burbank et al. | Go to book overview

9
Interest Group Lobbying Campaigning Inside the Government

Lobbying in Washington, D.C., and the various state capitals and other local governments is usually personified by the lobbyist. The lobbyist is the person sitting up in the gallery of the House of Representatives or in the back of the committee meeting rooms. The lobbyist is also the association representative who helps draft forthcoming legislation for a state legislator and then testifies at committee hearings on the value of the proposed law. Lobbyists often symbolize the interest groups for which they work. Jack Valenti, adviser to former president Lyndon B. Johnson, has represented Hollywood in Washington for decades. He is the president of the Motion Pictures Association and one of the most powerful and best paid of all the association lobbyists in the capital.


The Lobbying Profession

What types of people become lobbyists? Former U.S. Senate majority leader and unsuccessful Republican 1996 presidential candidate Robert Dole became a lobbyist in 1997. Dole joined the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernard, McPherson, and Hand. His fourteen-room office suite is located a couple of blocks from the White House. Dole earned his estimated $600,000 1997 salary not by lobbying in the normal meaning of the word but by providing access and strategic advice to his clients. Dole was hired to help the firm erase its image as a "Democratic" law firm. The $6 million that it spent on lobbying fees (ranking third in the city) represented only 10 percent of its total business. Other former political heavyweights who joined Verner-Liipfert in recent years included Bob Dole's Democratic counterpart, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, former Texas

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