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Influence peddling on the rise in Washington

The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has doubled since 2000 and lobbyists are now charging clients nearly twice as much, The Washington Post reports.

The paper says there are more than 34,750 lobbyists in the nation's capitol. "Lobbying firms can't hire people fast enough, Starting salaries have risen to about $300,000 a year for the best-connected aides," the paper says.

Republican lobbyists have been the winners of the expansion thanks to a Republican White House. Two top GOP firms have doubled their client list and added more lobbyists to their shop.

Lobbyists are also paying for Congressional travel despite ethics rules barring it, USA Today reports. Lobbying firms can form non-profit groups to get around the prohibition.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the current House majority leader, is facing questions over trips he took that were arranged by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. His old law firm says House ethics lawyers sanctioned the travel as long as the costs were passed onto the client.

Get the Story:
The Road to Riches Is Called K Street (The Washington Post 6/22)
Lobbyists showing Congress the world (USA Today 6/22)
Informal Advice on Trips Cited (The Washington Post 6/22)

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