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Great Books for Political Muckraking

Washington Representatives

A great deal has been made of the importance of lobbyists to the political process. These paid professionals spend all their time gaining the ear of your elected representatives. However, it can be very hard to actually find information on who the lobbyists are and what they're doing. Washington Representatives is an ongoing series of books, the only easily available publications that uncover the connections between corporations, lobbyists and the government.

Using different sections of this book, you can find out three important and related pieces of information:

  • The names of lobbying firms hired by corporations;
  • The names of employees of lobbying firms;
  • The career histories of those employees, including past government positions.

Following the paper trail from corporations to lobbyists to government positions, it's possible to document the ways in which lobbyists have insinuated themselves into policy discussion. Such information could be of use to political operatives, journalists, academics, or citizens who are getting fed up with their own lack of access. The information's not as direct as it could be, but it's the best we can do right now -- unfortunately, lobbyists don't have to publicly itemize their visits with government officials.

The bad news is that subscribing to each year's volume of "Washington Representatives" costs a whole lot of money. The good news is that a purchase is probably not necessary. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you can visit a university library and, if the library's up to snuff, it will have these volumes. At no cost to you, you can use this important book to do some of your own muck-raking. Enjoy!

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