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Take a look at this overview of big-time DC lobbyists
from Washingtonian and you'll not only see a lot of names that should be familiar to you (if you're in DC) -- Podesta, Boggs, Podesta, Weber -- but also learn a lot about how it all works -- the dark art of the earmark (a favorite of universities needing new buildings), the rivalry between private lobbying firms and law firms with lobbying practices, and the big money that's involved to get things done. (You find a client with an unmet need, you grind out an earmark or a change in the law, and then you mind it to make sure it stays in there through committee, the floor, and the conference report.) Education insiders and Hill staff may have better day to day access know more about the issues in a general sense but they're often outmatched when it comes to specific interests, deep political knowledge, and legislative ins and outs. Really, it's not fair. Funny that nearly all the firms are now owned by three big multinationals. And now we know why there's so much Ocean Spray in the schools.