NEWS AND VIEWS FROM INSIDE THE MEDIA BUBBLE
PARLIAMENT OF WHORES?
“Legislators are back in town for their summer session, mixing business with pleasure. During the day, they debate bills and, behind the scenes, listen to lobbyists vying for their attention. In the evenings, the social events, more like sorority-fraternity mixers than business meetings, include more women in sundresses than in suits, more laughter than debate, more nicknames than salutations.”
So begins a revealing dispatch from the NC General Assembly by Mandy Locke that was published in the News & Observer on Sunday.
The resignation of Charles Thomas, former chief of staff to House Speaker Thom Tillis, over revelations about a sexual relationship with a lobbyist for the NC Home Builders Association, is well known. What is striking, Locke’s story suggests, is how ingrained in the culture such relationships appear to be: Legislative aides gossip about peers rumored to be sleeping with lobbyists or lawmakers. Hemlines are going up, along with heel heights, while blouses are apt to be more revealing among younger female lobbyists. Lobbying is all about building and maintaining relationships. In short, sex or sex appeal is just another transactional asset to barter for access, along with shared history and charm. Sad to say, if you try to advocate for the people’s business without any of those assets you may find that your phone calls are not returned.