In the past, the lobbyists who populate Washington's K Street were about as likely to be Democrats as Republicans, a practice that ensured lobby firms would have clout no matter which party was in power. But as Republican-dominated national politics have created an increasingly one-party system, the GOP has made a determined effort to undermine the bipartisan complexion of K Street. "If today's GOP leaders put as much energy into shaping K Street as their predecessors did into selecting judges and executive-branch nominees, it's because lobbying jobs have become the foundation of a powerful new force in Washington politics: a Republican political machine," writes Nicholas Confessore. "Like the urban Democratic machines of yore, this one is built upon patronage, contracts, and one-party rule. But unlike legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, who rewarded party functionaries with jobs in the municipal bureaucracy, the GOP is building its machine outside government, among Washington's thousands of trade associations and corporate offices, their tens of thousands of employees, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in political money at their disposal."
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