Under Obama, It's the 'Summer of the Lobbyist'

'It Girl' emerges as health, climate, economy converge
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 24, 2009 12:45 PM CDT
Heather Podesta is at the forefront of a 'new generation' of lobbyists.   (©cliff1066)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama the candidate railed against lobbyists' influence—but under his administration, the Washington movers and shakers are flourishing. With health care reform, the environment, and the economy in focus all at once, it’s the “Summer of the Lobbyist,” writes Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post. At the center of it all is Heather Podesta, “an It Girl in a new generation of young, highly connected, built-for-the-Obama-era lobbyists.”

Podesta is well connected: her brother-in-law is John Podesta, President Clinton’s former chief of staff and Obama’s transition boss; her husband is another big-time lobbyist. The couple estimates they’ve “donated to or held fundraisers for” most Democratic senators; Heather Podesta has donated some $48,250 to politicians this year. That’s a figure that would make watchdogs cringe over “influence-buying,” but it’s not unusual among lobbyists, who say their checkbooks are key to their survival.