THE THURSDAY REGULARS

HOW REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS GATHER A KEY GROUP OF LOBBYISTS EVERY WEEK TO HELP PASS THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA

AT 11 A.M. LAST THURSDAY, CONGRESSMAN John Boehner took his seat at the head of a conference-room table a few steps from the Rotunda, beneath the Capitol dome. As the fourth-ranking Republican in the House and a field general in the war to pass the "Contract with America," Boehner (pronounced Bay-ner) looked at home. But his lieutenants, who were arrayed around the table strewn with coffee cups and cigarette butts, were not so natural a fit. They were not fellow lawmakers or even congressional staff members. They were lobbyists representing some of the richest special interests in the country. Still, he...

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