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Column: Daddy, aren't you one of those lobbyists?

"As we were watching a story on the evening news about the extravagance and excesses of lobbyists, my son asked me, "Aren't you a lobbyist?" Yes, I said. "You must not be very good at it," he said.

By some modern standards, maybe not. I don't own an airplane. I've never played golf at St. Andrews. The most I ever paid for a suit was $450, and I got married in it. I don't have an office on K Street, although sometimes I hold meetings at a Starbucks on K Street. I don't buy lavish dinners for members of Congress on behalf of my clients. In fact, I have nothing of value to offer a member of Congress except an occasional $15 plaque and an invaluable cause.

What I do as a lobbyist is petition Congress on behalf of nonprofit institutions to protect lives and health, particularly of young people, through the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco use and other public health threats. In pursuit of my cause, I will cajole, wheedle, plead, beg and even reason with members of Congress and their staffs for earmarks or any other kind of funding. If lobbyists like me are blocked by current reform efforts, then those we try to help will suffer."

Get the Story:
James Copple: Hired Guns for the Public Good (The Washington Post 2/22)

Lobbying Reform Bills:
S.2128 | S.1312

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