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Other lobbyists have combined networking with officials along with raising funds for charities. GOP lobbyist Ari Storch, who runs Artemis Strategies, helped organize a Birdies for the Brave golf tournament Aug. 27 at TPC Tampa Bay. House Speaker and Ohio Republican John A. Boehner is an honorary co-chairman. Intel and SAP are the major backers of the tournament, which is expected to raise more than $1 million for wounded soldiers and sailors, with much of the money going to fund two homes for injured veterans.
"Last year when we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do at the conventions, we thought, 'Do we really just want to throw our money into a party, and just throw it away?' No offense to the party planners," Storch recalls. "We decided, 'Let's do some good with the fact that we're all getting together.' We wanted to do something that would leave a permanent mark."
But K Streeters won't be alone. Good-government lobbyists will have a presence, and they're hoping to kill the party scene. Public Citizen's Craig Holman says he plans to identify parties that may be illegal under ethics rules and lobbying laws. Members of Congress, for example, are prohibited from attending parties in their honor at the conventions. "We'll alert our people on the ground and try to coordinate crashing of those parties," Holman says, referring to the convention as a "complete influence-peddling free-for-all."