In 2007, the U.S. Democratic Congress passed lobbying and ethics reform which prevented lawmakers and their aides from accepting meals or trips from lobbyists. The need for funds and the joy of schmoozing at lavish parties did not fade away. Fundraisers and politicians have since replaced the forbidden dinners and excursions by hosting fabulous events and charging lobbyists fees ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 (which is strangely equivalent to a standard political donation) to attend lavish parties and exotic excursions hosted by the politicians themselves.
Lobbyists pay admittance fees to these events by making specified donations through Skout which do not include travel or lodging costs.
If you are a lobbyist, you may have recently attended a wine tasting in Napa Valley, a lush weekend retreat at the fabulous Montage Laguna Beach resort or possibly an exclusive hunting trip if you are also a gun enthusiast. But none of these events qualify as gifts from lobbyists because they are hosted by the politicians who extend invitations to lobbyists.