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Just a little dinner among friends

Lobbyists close to Sen. Ted Stevens are organizing a $5,000-a-plate dinner here on Wednesday to benefit a charity called the Ted Stevens Foundation.

Bill Canfield, a former Stevens aide turned Washington lobbyist, said the organization is primarily devoted to preserving the papers of Alaska's senior senator, who is also chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. ...

Some critics see these nonprofits as yet another way for moneyed interests to influence lawmakers, beyond the campaign contribution limits.

"Anytime you have a situation where somebody can contribute vast amounts of money to a politician who is still in office, even if it's not directed to a campaign but going into a foundation with his name on it, it's a concern," said Bill Allison, a spokesman for the Center for Public Integrity. "What you've essentially done is bought a certain amount of access to that person. He's going to be grateful." -- Lobbyists flock to nonprofit (Anchorage Daily News)