Convention 'Hospitality'

Candidates, delegates, protesters and media aren't the only folks attending the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer. Lobbyists, by the thousands, are doing "what amounts to the only real work going on at the convention - the nonstop currying of favor of elected officials by the most powerful interests in the country," the Washington Post writes. Representing their well-heeled clients, lobbyists are hosting hundreds of events at the conventions hoping to make connections that will pay off for them in the future. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), played down the $19,000 luncheon given in his honor by the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Durbin, an original co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, called the luncheon an extension of his "day-to-day contact with business from my state." "It's hospitality at the convention, and I think that's part of the experience," he told the Post.