Monday, June 02, 2003

Wha' Happened? Vol. II

Alright, kids. Tilt your head back, hold your nose, and open your mouth because it's time for another bitter tequila shot of reality from your source for the sinister machinations of your federal government. In our last issue, we discussed the impact of hookers on the legislative process. Today's issue is less insidious, though far more prevalent. Like everything else stinky in DC, it also involves lobbyists.

During Estrogen Fiesta 2003, there was some discussion about "Gina's"* upcoming birthday. "We're going to have it on the 13th," intoned the party-planner. "Everything's taken care of. I'm renting out [generic capital hill bar]."

Listening to this, I couldn't help but think, "What nice friends Gina has! My friends can barely be bothered to tip a 40 on to the ground in honor of my birthday! And they're renting out bars and doing all the planning! Wow."

The party planner continued, "We have 2 or 3 sponsors already, but of course we could always use more."

Now I am lost again. Sponsors? As in the Enron Birthday Party? Wha'? So I inquire. Sure enough, well-connected Hill staffers have their extravagant birthday parties paid for by lobbyist "sponsors." They rent out a bar, put all the booze and cigs on a tab, and after they've racked up a bill in the $2000-3000 range, they hand it over to their sponsors of choice who divvy it up, send the check, and flop metaphorically onto the massage table to prepare for their reciprocal back-scratching. And all this is so commonplace it doesn't require code words or hushed conversations or guilty self-conscious embarassment at the yawning chasm between public service ideals and sordid reality.

*Not her real name. Her real name is Uhura.


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