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Sunday, July 4, 2010


Our text has a photo essay on the Podesta family, prominent in the interest group community. A June 2 post described Heather Podesta's lobbying for a nonprofit. The New York Times recently profiled her husband, lobbyist Tony Podesta:

Mr. Podesta, a garrulous, gravelly voiced man known for his bold neckwear, is part of the elite group of lobbyists atop the industry who move easily between black-tie fund-raisers on Embassy Row and closed meetings on Capitol Hill. Despite the recession, lobbying scandals and frequent denunciation from President Obama about their outsize influence, lobbyists are more in demand than ever.

“The irony of it is that every time the president says we lobbyists have all this influence, people who don’t have a lobbyist want one,” Mr. Podesta said in an interview. “He exaggerates our power, but he increases demand for our services.”


Despite the popular conception of his trade, Mr. Podesta says he sees his main role as giving information to lawmakers rather than wielding influence.

“Members want to understand what they’re doing,” he said. “It improves decision making for people to understand the consequences of what they’re about to do. People draft language all the time and don’t think about how it applies in different situations.”