A lobbyist friend of mine—who previously worked on the staffs of two Senate Republicans—recently, and ruefully, summed up how the system now works. My friend represents a Fortune 500 company with employees in a newly elected Democratic senator’s state. He had been trying to schedule an office visit through official channels for months with the senator and his client, to no avail. Finally, my friend reached out to the senator’s chief fund-raiser, pledging that his client’s PAC intended to contribute the legal maximum to the senator’s campaign, and requesting to be placed on the senator’s fund-raising invitation list. He was stunned the following morning to be interrupted by a call from the senator, expressing a heartfelt wish to get to know his client better.

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