Lawmakers who lunch

If food be the anthem of greed, then eat on. As this NYT article makes it clear, the must-have accessory for a successful lobbyist is an upscale restaurant:

The lobbyist Jack Abramoff mixed business with business at Signatures, the upscale restaurant he opened here three years ago. Playing host at his private corner spot, Table 40, he courted Republican lawmakers and talked strategy with subordinates while eating rolls of sushi and firing commands to the staff on his BlackBerry.
And how much did those hard-working GOP lawmakers eat? Let's see: "Over a 17-month period in 2002 and 2003, the restaurant gave away about $180,000 in food and drink, with Mr. Abramoff's tab roughly $65,000 for himself and his guests." An astounding tab especially since members of Congress are prohibited from receiving gifts -- including food -- over $100 in value from a single source per year. Oops!

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