chapter  6
Lobbyists
Pages 18

In 2006, in the minds of most Americans, the word lobbyist conjured up the image of someone like Jack Abramoff. Stories about the Abramoff scandal were prominent in the media in early 2006; the Washington Post mentioned Abramoff in fifty-three stories in February alone. These stories showed a lobbyist who collected huge sums from clientsin one case, perhaps over $1 million to arrange a meeting between the prime minister of Malaysia and President George W. Bush.1 They depict a lobbyist who cheated his clients, who jetted off with lawmakers to golf excursions in Scotland and the Pacific Islands, and who admitted to conspiring to bribe public officials. The public did not think of Abramoff as unusual in any way; surveys showed that a large majority of Americans believed that lobbyists bribing lawmakers was common on Capitol Hill.2 In July of 2007, Democratic lawmakers were mounting investigations of Abramoff’s ties with GOP policymakers, assuring that he would remain the symbol of corrupt lobbying in the near future.