"CAN I LOBBY YOU?"
Of course a lobbyist sent me this article from The Washington Post, so I'm posting... for free :) Maybe I should at least get dinner at Morton's in D.C.?
If you typed the word "lobbyist" into the Google News search engine last week, the first page of 8,670 search results would have included dozens of headlines that screamed out "Lobbyist's Guilty Plea Sends Out Shock Waves Through US Congress," "Bush Campaign Getting Rid of Lobbyist's Money" and "Kennedy Among Leading Recipients of Convicted Lobbyist's Clients." The referenced lobbyist is, of course, Jack Abramoff. In spreading the news to America and the world, most news organizations deemed it sufficient to simply inform the public in headlines that a "lobbyist" had pleaded guilty. The insinuation is that there must be something inherently sinister because a lobbyist is involved. The nature of his guilt is treated as self-evident.
Perhaps this scandal will eventually be called the Abramoff affair, but for now it is a lobbying scandal. If Shakespeare lived today, perhaps he would write, "First shoot all the lobbyists." Yet in the midst of the current furor, reports do not mention that there are thousands of lobbyists in Washington who are honorable and honest people and who render a service that is both critical to a democratic society and enshrined in our Constitution. (full article)