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...The founding democratic principle of "one man,one vote" has been replaced by the new math of special interests: thousands of lobbyists plus multimillions of dollars equals access and influence out of the reach of ordinary citizens. From 1997 to 1999...the number of registered lobbyists in Washington grew by a whopping 37% to more than 20,000, while the amount of money spent reached $1.42 billion. Crunch the numbers and it works out to roughly 38 lobbyists for each member of Congress. It's no wonder the last few years have produced a succession of designer giveaways....

One hundred thirty-eight of Washington's registered lobbyists are former members of Congress, two-thirds of whom left the Hill in1990. Democrats? Republicans? It really doesn't matter.

Under current law, former members of Congress cannot directly lobby their colleagues for one year after leaving office...

The truth is that former members can get plenty done long before their year on the sideline is up. Look at ex-congressman Bob Livingston...and is already using the expertise and power he amassed as Chairman of Appropriations Committee to recruit clients...among them defense contractors seeking...schmoozing over golf with Rep. Tom Davis, R - Va.

...former New York congressman Thomas Downey...Last year alone his firm collected $1,8 million in lobbying fees from 47 clients. This will all be well positioned should his pal Al Gore become president.

'"i am involved in so many issues," said Senator Majority Leader Trent Lott..."I could almost not accept a contribution from anybody"...

...there are 20,000 lobbyists hard at work every day. Like a swarm of ...termites...they are making a meal out of the foundations of our democracy....



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