$3.47 billion spent. Did you get a pony?

The Center for Responsive Politics has taken a look at lobbying expenses for 2009 and found that we have a new record. $3.47 billion was spent by 13,741 registered lobbyists to lobby the Congress in 2009. In 2008 $3.27 billion was spent. And this is only the spending for those folks who have to register under the extremely weak Federal lobbying disclosure laws. Billions more have been spent by PR firms, think tanks, front groups, shadow groups and other entities and individuals operating with carefully designed work-plans crafted to escape oversight and disclosure.

The recent Legislation enacted by the Bush/Roberts Court will flood the zone with even more money. This is another indication of just how deep in the shit our Democracy finds itself in these days.

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The Abramoff Slate

The pro-corruption caucus never rests and it rewards their foot soldiers with work through the many brushes with the law that they have.

A good case in point is Susan Ralston. She was Jack Abramoff’s secretary/confidant and gate-keeper for years. Then she went to work in the same role for Karl Rove (and serve as an important member of Team Abramoff in the White House. Here you can see a photo of Susan with Jack and many members of the gang (she is the one sitting in front of Jack). Most folks in that photo have either had charges filed against them or are still under investigation. Susan falls into the latter category. It was only last August when the Department of Justice named her as a co-conspirator in the Abramoff Scandal.

To say that she is under a cloud of suspicion would be an understatement. And yet, Republicans are more than willing to hire her to raise money for them and organize their affairs. The St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that Ralston is the point of contact for a major GOP fundraiser for seven Republican Candidates for Senate this year. Here is the invite:

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