The Hill’s History-Cast: Those damn lobbyists

The Hill’s History-Cast: Those damn lobbyists

The professional lobbying industry spends more to influence Congress than Congress spends on itself every year. And while lobbyists may be reviled, they wield a huge amount of power behind the scenes in shaping American government.

That's been the case since the founding of the Republic, when America's first lobbyist pushed Congress to pay Revolutionary War veterans more for their service. Robber barons and foreign nations employed lobbyists to get their way, sometimes by handing out gifts and favors to members of Congress — the gunmaker Samuel Colt once gave a pistol to the 12-year-old son of a congressman.

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In this episode, we take a deep dive into the history of the American influence industry to understand the role lobbyists play, how they do their job and what government has done to rein in their once-unchecked power. And we start in the lobby of a famous hotel, where some early influencers badgered a president so much he told friends he just couldn't stand "those damn lobbyists."

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