John Guenther: March 2011 Archives

It's a Lobbyist's Life

There were 13,740 active, registered lobbyists in Washington in 2009 according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics (Credit: John Guenther).

While Washington natives sipped their fancy cocktails and enjoyed the air-conditioning at the D.C. Coast Restaurant in downtown, veteran lobbyist Sam Johnson* answered a phone call from his 13-year-old son.

His son was asking for permission to attend a Friday night dance sponsored by their family's local church. Johnson granted it, and then hung up.

"I'm crazy to let him go," Johnson said with a laugh while drinking his first Manhattan. "You can just feel the teen hormones flying around at those things."

As a single dad of two kids, Johnson is used to accommodating his children's needs and demands. It's a funny role reversal, though, for a veteran lobbyist who asks Congressmen to support his own requests on almost a daily basis.

Graphic: How Money Flows Into Campaigns

Presidential candidates spent $1.8 billion running for office in the 2008 election cycle. In the 2010 mid-terms, $3.9 billion was spent on Congressional elections. The 2012 elections are expected to break new records in campaign finance. Here's a look at where that money comes from and how it's used.