« Gray Davis files suit in California Supreme Court | Main | Charles Rhyne, RIP »

Dinner at Galileo

According to the Washington Post article, Influence by Volume,

Every other week or so for the past few years, customers at the expensive downtown Italian restaurant Galileo might have bumped into Freddie Mac's chief lobbyist, R. Mitchell Delk, having dinner with powerful Republican House members and other lobbyists.

Face time with politicians over dinner at fancy restaurants has long been a staple of lobbying in Washington, and expanding the dinners into fundraising events has become common, too. Some restaurants near Capitol Hill, such as LaColline or the Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue, say it's a significant part of their business.

But Delk plays the game on a larger scale, both in his focus on Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services committee, which oversees Freddie Mac, and in his unusual discount arrangement with Galileo, which charges him just $500 -- $25 a plate for a three-course dinner, wine, drink, tax and tip for up to 20 dinners.

He held at least 50 fundraising dinners over the past 21/2 years, mostly for Republican members of Oxley's committee or the House leadership. At least 20 advertised an appearance by Oxley.

Let me tell you, Galileo is a great restaurant. It is in the same building with the firm I practiced with in DC. We had a discount arrangement with the eatery, but I don't remember it being this steep.