Sen. Reid defends lobbyists: ‘They work for a living.’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who helped pass legislation in 2007 to limit the influence of lobbyists, invited top lobbyists to join him for an inaugural brunch Monday where he pledged that he will still do plenty of business with them:

reid.gif“And there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Reid. “And Obama will be meeting with them too.” When asked to clarify his remarks, given Obama’s promises to change that part of Capitol culture, Reid responded that lobbyists are part and parcel of the job.

“People should understand that lobbyists, per se, are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter,” said Reid. “They work for a living.” The Democratic leader’s sons and a son-in-law have worked as lobbyists.

Lobbying shops that have been previously dedicated to serving conservative interests are now turning bipartisan. “Barack is a bipartisan, nonpartisan type of guy,” said Morris Reid, BGR’s new managing director and a longtime Democratic operative. “It’s important for the lobbying business to take its cue from the White House and become a bipartisan shop.” But still, “there’s a collective griping,” said a Democratic lobbyist, questioning the continued dominance of Republicans on K Street.