Thursday, March 17, 2005

"The Influence 50"

Legal Times is out with it's annual list of the biggest spending lobbyist outfits in Washington. At the top:

  1. Patton Boggs -- $65.8 million
  2. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld - $64.2 million
  3. Hogan & Hartson -- $51.6 million
  4. DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary -- $42.4 million
  5. Cassidy & Associates -- $28 million

The bottom of the top 50 still spent $6.7 million to influence your Hired Hands on the Hill.

So how do you get a word in edgewise? You could try the Internet.

Taegan Goddard at quotes Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) as saying how politicians take blogs pretty seriously:

"Wealth and power control most everything in this country. But one thing they do not control -- wealth and power does not control the Internet. Through the Internet, regular ordinary people have a voice. That’s why I go out of my way to communicate any way that I can on the Internet and I think the blogs are a tremendously important way for the American public to find out what’s really going on."

But a Gallup Poll shows that blogs are still pretty elitist. Saying "Blogs are still not in the media big leagues," Gallup found that few Americans read blogs with any frequency. And those that do fall into a narrow 18-to-29 year old age range. Only about 3% of Americans check blogs on a daily basis.

Needless to say, that breaks my heart and I no longer believe in polls.

But for Americans without blogs, there's still snail mail. You may not be able to spend like Patton Boggs, but a 37-cent stamp can still carry some weight in Washington. And a letter still carries more weight with most politicians than an e-mail. It's a rule of thumb in politics that for every one letter expressing an opinion, there are 100 people with the same opinion who didn't have time to write.

Might want to write that down -- and share it with a few friends. (WashPost) [Crossposted at]

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