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Friday, January 13, 2006

Lobbyists' Emergence Reflects Shift in Capital Culture

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 12, 2006; A01

Corporate lobbyists Mark Valente III and Troup Coronado don't have to hang out in the hallways of Capitol Hill, waiting to buttonhole Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.). Both men have more convenient ways of reaching the lawmaker.
 
Valente is the treasurer of Shimkus's political action committee, the John S Fund. And Coronado, who lobbies for BellSouth, played host at a Dec. 17 fundraiser for Shimkus at MCI Center. Guests made contributions -- $1,000 per person, $1,500 per couple -- to his reelection campaign, and in turn they got to take in a Bon Jovi performance from the BellSouth suite.
 
There is nothing exceptional about Valente's relationship with Shimkus, or Coronado's fundraising party. But they do illustrate the capital's changing mores.
 
Although the excesses of Jack Abramoff have captured the news, a wide range of other practices -- rarely publicized and fully legal -- reflect the steady dismantling of the wall between lobbyists and members of the House and Senate.
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