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“There’s nothing like a near-death experience to cause you to start raising money earlier,” Podesta noted.
For a lobbyist, the proximity and access to lawmakers at a fundraiser obviously helps boost their own cache with colleagues and clients. And that can ultimately translate into personal profits. But it doesn’t come cheap.
A pair of Democratic House members has scheduled a fundraiser to attend the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center in July. One ticket — which includes a pre-show reception with Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., and James P. Moran, D-Va. — will cost you $1,000.
Skeet-shooting with Sen. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, costs $500 for individuals and $1,000 for PACs. A Mets vs. Nationals game with Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y.? Same price.
Another local event, Sen. Susan Collins’ annual Maine-style lobster lunch, this month costs $500 for individuals and $1,000 for PACs.
The vacation fundraisers have the added costs of travel — airfare, lodging, car rentals.
“My kids are all going to community college since I’m giving all this money away,” said one K Street lobbyist who donates into the six figures each cycle. But giving money distinguishes him from his peers who keep their wallets tighter.
In other words, it’s priceless.
Kate Ackley is a staff writer at CQ Roll Call who keep tabs on the influence industry.