CRF Blog

Citizen K Street

by Bill Hayes

In the last several decades, lobbyists have played an increasing role in the federal government. In 2007, the Washington Post published a series of 25 articles on the subject. Titled Citizen K Street, the series profiles a lawyer named Gerald S. J. Cassidy, who began what would be the most successful lobbying firm of his time. He changed what lobbyists do. If you want to understand modern Washington, this series is critically important. From the introduction:

They developed one big idea for a business that proved amazingly successful: the earmarked appropriation for individual institutions. . . . Within a few years this upstart lobbying firm had dozens of clients and was making millions of dollars. . . . Its success contributed to an explosion of lobbying as imitators tried to copy the Cassidy method. Lobbyists became important sources of cash for the politicians they lobbied, and as campaigns became ever more expensive, lobbyists’ contributions became ever more important. Over time, the rise of lobbying helped create a new culture of wealth in the nation’s capital.