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Toe the Line

Every week, our Anonymous Lobbyist answers your questions about how laws get made and why they probably shouldn't. If you have a question about the dirty business of doing business in Washington, ask her.


This week: if ass-kissing is outlawed...

Are there different levels of ass-kissing, e.g. dry and passionless vs. wet and sloppy?

Oh, absolutely. There's definitely the perfunctory level of ass-kissing, like when you actually know the Congress Member personally but still address him as "Congressman," or when you effusively thank some LA for taking the time to meet with you, even though you represent a major constituent and only need like 15 minutes to hand over some papers and you've spent 2 weeks chasing them down. Everyone in D.C. likes to think that they're super fucking important, and, as a lobbyist, you're more supplicant than emperor when you're on the Hill. So, you make like a supplicant and pucker up, but you can't overdo it without it seeming insincere. Seeming sincere is key for the low-level shit.

The major ass-kissing comes in when you need someone to do you a favor, like get you in to see their boss, or get someone on a witness list or figure out what the hell the Dems are actually going to try and legislate after 15 hours of goddamn hearings. Then you bend over backwards, setting singles up with other single friends of yours, or cooing over fucking baby pictures or sending reception invites to receptionists and shit. You still have to seem sincere, but, since you're asking for shit, there's an unwritten quid pro quo that making the askee feel more special and important than usual is the cost of getting something done.

Does your boss ever just drop by to see if the pups need to "go for a walk"?

That'll be the day. My boss is so scared of getting canned already, between the political demise of his Republican overlords from the K Street Project and his own blinding stupidity at his job that there's no way even his dumb ass would risk a sexual harassment complaint right now. And he probably knows I'd actually like to see him get shitcanned, and, stupid though he may be, I can't fault his office politics skills. So, he's never been anything but (reasonably, for D.C.) professional, and has certainly never made a move beyond a cheek kiss and a hug when he thinks it's appropriate/that he can get away with it.

Plus, frankly, his fiancée has him so fucking pussywhipped he'd probably smack himself if he caught himself looking at my tits.

If you had to choose between the best night of sex in your life or becoming the most powerful lobbyist this great District has ever known, which would you choose and why?

One night? I mean, even if I'd get to have it during the longest night of the year, you're still only talking 14 hours and 23 minutes of spectacular sex. After which, I might well be condemned to continued career mediocrity and powerlessness? As long as picking money and influence didn't negate my ability to have pretty good sex the rest of the time, 14+ hours of mind-blowing sex is in no way equivalent to being wildly successful- and it sure as hell ain't gonna add to my 401K in 30+ years when I need to cash out. And, what's worse, is that the 14+ hours would probably make the pretty good sex I'd have the rest of the time seem mediocre (or, even worse, bad) by comparison, so I'd be both less wealthy and bored with sex. So, money and power all the way. No contest.

If lobbyists can't be outlawed from plying their trade, can't we make their positions elect able like other representatives?

Look, no one can really make himself a lobbyist. Somehow has to hire him, which is sorta like being elected, and someone can fire him. It's not like one can simply arrive in Washington on the train, walk up to the Hill and start taking meetings right away. You can, if you so desire, come here and meet with your Members' and Senators' staffs on an issue (and, believe me, plenty of people do when the weather's nice). But, as a lobbyist, plenty of people have to weigh in on you.

But, if you want to see who is representing you, go to the Senate's site to view the original filings, or here to see which companies/associations/unions are hiring which firms in a consolidated way. Own stock? Belong to a professional organization, or a union, or a trade association? Buy stuff at Walmart? It's all in there. If you don't like who is representing "you" (not that anyone is any more likely to recognize those names than those of local politicians, but that's almost irrelevant), then call or write. If you're a paying member or stockholder or employee or something, they could take that seriously... though they're more likely to point out that you're paying for them to be effective in Washington and this is what that requires. So, it's really a question of whether you'd want your interest groups to hire really nice people and lose, or hire amoral sharks like me that make you uncomfortable and win. And, as in most political races, I'm betting expedient amorality wins over nice every time.

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