by Max Brantley
When lobbyists throw a group event -- with a mass legislator invitation list -- they don't have to fear specific reporting of expenditures on individual legislators. It makes for a so much more convivial event for both parties, not needing to fear any public exposure of specific give and take between freebie giver and taker.
How do these things happen?
Well, a legislator in need of entertainment might mention his idea to a couple of lobbyists. Say Bruce Hawkins and Camie Boggess (their clients include police chiefs, ambulance companies, vending machine companies, distilled spirits industry, cable TV, the owner of the Lord's Ranch, etc.) and you tell them you'd like a party, say a fun night out at the bowling alley, er, lanes.
They then send an e-mail to a list of some of the state's most powerful lobbyists. I'm just guessing their note might say something like this:
We have been asked to gather sponsors for the House Democratic Caucus Bowl-A-Thon. This event will be from 8:00 to 10:00 pm Thursday, February 15th at the Millennium Bowl on Counts Massie Road toward Maumelle. They have league play on Thursday evenings, so we will all gather in the Sports Bar on premise and take lanes as they open up. We will coordinate this as a special event for reporting purposes and provide all of you who donate a list for filing. Since we don't have a clue how much this is going to be or how many of you would like to participate, we are asking that you consider making a donation of $200.00. We will provide a sign at the event recognizing all of the companies who sponsor, and if by some chance there is any money left over, it will be donated to the House Democratic Caucus.
So barmaid, bring a pitcher, another round of brew! We'll let Jimmy take away the rest of the song. But you know, in the end, who'll be getting the screwing.
End the lobby sewer.