Lobbying Law Won't Crimp Convention Parties

Loopholes allow lavish bashes for lawmakers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2008 7:30 AM CDT
Hillary Clinton, front row far right, laughs while Democratic leaders dance the Macarena on stage at the end of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1996.   (AP Photo/Ruth Fremson, file)
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(Newser) – Tough new rules aimed at weakening the influence of lobbyists won't keep Democrats and Republicans away from some of the most lavish convention parties ever seen, funded by those seeking to influence legislation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Dozens of loopholes allow lawmakers to skirt the legislation by accepting gifts from lobbyists and attending their glitzy, star-studded bashes.

Lobbyist dodge the aim of the law by hosting charitable fundraisers—like a poker tournament planned for Democratic lawmakers—which are allowed. So-called "widely attended" events, with 25 guests who are not members of Congress or staff are OK, too, allowing politicians to enjoy an all-expenses-paid party featuring Kanye West. Booze will flow as freely as ever at the Distilled Spirits Council's bash—but this year lawmakers will only get $10 cigars.
(Read more Democratic National Convention stories.)