Gilding the City

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All that money flowing into Washington, DC to finance the campaigns of elected officials is throwing a definite golden pall across the Capitol dome: Washington political operators are getting richer as campaign and lobbying spending increases and power and money are braiding together as never before.

The Politico
looks at the (sharply) upward mobility of D.C.'s political population -- lobbyists, campaign consultants and the like -- as it parallels the explosion in campaign fundraising and spending, and the inevitable conversion of lawmakers into lobbyists making monster salaries:

A generation ago, lobbyists, fundraisers and campaign consultants were typically individual practitioners. Often, political work was a sideline to a more conventional legal career.

But now these jobs are professions. And most people in them assume that the profit motive for trying to influence public affairs needs neither explanation nor apology.

Hey, we all need to draw a salary (a point with which my landlord will no doubt happily concur), but I think this article gets to the uncomfortable concentration of great wealth and great power in a small and isolated group:


In some ways, the mushrooming of the industries surrounding politics and government has made Washington's wealth more similar to that of other commercial centers, like New York, said Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.

"Here's the difference: In New York, money was always a central element. In Washington, power was the central element," said Ornstein, who moved to Washington in 1969 on an academic fellowship and has written several books on Congress and politics. "Now in Washington, power and money have intertwined in a way that they just weren't 30 or 40 years ago."