Bonfire of the Vanities

The Senate votes to end perks it receives from lobbyists. Hmmm . . .

Picture a white-sand beach swept by a balmy breeze with nothing more pressing than whether to read a novel or visit a sugar plantation in old Barbados. The stuff of romance, yes. But in the Capitol, it is the essence of lobbying. Lobbying mixes people of the same interests and temperament, adds good food, fine wine and the occasional getaway -- and also produces relationships. And just because one of the companions always picks up the tab doesn't make the liaisons meaningless. Indeed, in most cases, the links are all too serious.

Congress, of course, realizes that the public is enraged...

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