Philly.com: Elect them, then lobby them: Two firms blur the worlds of policy and politics in Harrisburg
In the last three years, the campaign arm of a powerful Harrisburg lobbying firm has helped elect or reelect a third of the Republicans who now dominate the Pennsylvania Senate.
Across the Capitol in the House, the campaign offshoot of another lobbying firm has helped nearly half the GOP members who hold a commanding majority in that chamber.
Once they get their candidates into office, both firms then lobby them on behalf of a long list of special interests.
Critics call it the lobbying world’s version of the double dip. They have pushed, with little success, to ban the practice, arguing that it perpetuates a culture of favoritism and undue access in Harrisburg and normalizes chummy relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers.
Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group of election-law experts based in Washington, said few companies handle both campaigning and lobbying.
Combining the two presents “more or less the same ethical issues that you have when you have lobbyists in general who are making campaign contributions or otherwise helping officials in office. If you have somebody that’s helping a candidate get elected, then when they do come around to lobby that candidate, they’re going to have more access and influence than other people who are active on the same issue,” Noti said.