Who says Washington won't listen? All you need is hard work and extra cash. K Street's power brokers make millions each year promoting the agendas of America's leading special interests, like Big Business, Big Oil and Big Pharma.
But some firms maintain a surprising sideline: Big John Q. Public.
From time to time, individual members of the public call on lobbying firms to help them get through to lawmakers. A review of lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate and the Justice Department reveals that Washington's top lobbyists occasionally work for individuals who need assistance with their causes.
These clients' goals range from the mundane (a fix to a problem with Social Security checks) to the lucrative (government blessings of a real estate development) to the bizarre (help securing farmland in Africa).
Lobbying disclosure records suggest that most of these individuals hire lobbyists to represent their personal business interests.
"It has at least to be someone who can afford representation in Washington," said Kenneth Gross, a partner at Skadden Arps who specializes in lobbying and ethics law. "Some of these people may be looking for private bills, where Congress passes legislation for a private person." You have to love a country where the politicians are affordable.