Obama May Eschew Their Money, But Lobbyists Flock to Charlotte

Lobbyists Heather and Tony Podesta — one of Washington’s best-known power couples — sported scarlet “Ls” at the 2008 Democratic National Convention four years ago as a reaction to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s exclusion of influence-peddlers from his campaign.

Even as now-President Obama continues to eschew donations from lobbyists, the Podestas and scores of others who ply their trade will be a major part of this year’s Democratic conclave in Charlotte, North Carolina — just as many of them were at the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, Florida.

The Podestas will be hosting brunches Monday and Tuesday. The meals will allow the couple “to introduce people to the world-class Mint Museum and eat great southern farm-to-table cuisine,” Heather Podesta said.

“Yum and fun,” she added.

The Podestas’ clients include BP Plc, Prudential Financial Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Other good times during the week include a Sept. 5 reception for “transportation policy leaders.” Sponsors include Airlines for America and similar trade groups for the trucking and bus industries.

“We want to make sure they’re hearing our message, ” said Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America.

The reception is similar to one that the groups sponsored for the Republicans.

Also coming to Charlotte after Tampa is an opportunity for convention attendees to take batting practice. The event at the local minor league ballpark will raise money for children’s hospitals in Charlotte and Chicago. The Charlotte Knights are a farm team for the Chicago White Sox and the Illinois delegation, led by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, will be special guests.



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