Holiday Lobby Parties Say No Cameras Allowed


If you’re an industry group or a lobby shop each and every season is worthy of a themed fundraiser. Holiday season is, of course, the best time to get lawmakers and lobbyists together to schmooze and allow a legal forum for the exchange of campaign cash for direct access. ABC News’ Brian Ross and his film crew came down from New York to try and film the natives in their annual tradition only to be removed from the festivities:

At the National Beer Wholesalers Association and Brewers Association’s “Taste of the Holidays” party Wednesday night in the Rayburn cafeteria, Members of Congress, staffers and lobbyists noshed on House ethics committee-approved delicacies like Guinness draught mini meatballs and beer-glazed ribs and libations that included more than 20 brews.

Ross entered the party with cameras rolling. His goal: to show perks lawmakers and staffers receive during the holidays as trade groups and lobby shops throw swanky parties on Capitol Hill. Unsurprisingly, the newsman was treated like an interloper by the party’s sponsors.

Ross didn’t get much of a chance to shoot the Beer Wholesalers’ party — he was kicked out almost upon arrival, according to one witness to the mini-drama. Aside from not being invited to the soiree, Ross would have been in violation of House rules that don’t allow video cameras in the cafeterias without prior approval. But Ross was persistent in his pursuit of the story: After being asked to leave, he waited outside the doors trying to catch partygoers making their exit.

This reminds me of a hilarious Matt Taibbi article from Rolling Stone called "How to be a Lobbyist Without Trying."

The schmoozefest was on. There were about fifty people present, all in suits and all with name tags representing everyone from the NRA to Motorola to the White House; they all started furiously shaking one another’s hands and gaping at one another’s name tags, like dogs sniffing each other in a Central Park run.

Too bad they didn’t let Ross catch this on camera.