A Lobbyman's Holiday

"For most Americans, August is a time for summer vacation. For members of Congress, their aides and some lobbyists, it's a time for privately sponsored junkets," the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin writes.
"This month, for example, 20 members of Congress jetted to London for a week-long visit in which they delved into such issues as trade, terrorism and foreign affairs. These politicians had no fear of getting lonely, however: More than 100 lobbyists accompanied them, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post." The trip, sponsored by the Republican Ripon Educational Fund, is free for the congressional contingent. The lobbyists -- representing corporations like American Express, AOL Time Warner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, General Motors and Hewlett-Packard -- pay their own way plus Ripon annual membership fees of $9,500.