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Influencing Power in Washington

  • Jela Franceschi

Political lobbying is a long-standing tradition in the United States, and through the years, it has become a lucrative business.

Legend has it that the term "lobbyist" was coined in 1869 by President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant used to relax, drink brandy and enjoy a cigar in the lobby of the Willard Hotel down the street from the White House in Washington, D.C. Barbara Bahny David is the hotel's public relations director.

"When the president's fondness for the lobby became noted, some of the power brokers of the day found out and would come to the lobby of the Willard Hotel to petition the president on their individual causes. He called those people 'lobbyists' because they used to hang out in the lobby of the Willard Hotel."

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