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Leadership PACs and Golf Outings

Pro Publica pulls back the curtain on the Leadership PACs of members of Congress, and the fact that they allow lobbyists to provide public officials with some of life's luxuries they might not otherwise be able to afford.

When it comes to golf, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has champagne taste.

...

Fortunately for Chambliss, a political fund covers the costs of his golf hobby. The fund received $692,618 during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost all of it came from lobbyists, political action committees (PACs) and corporate leaders.

The public might be forgiven for thinking the days are gone when lobbyists and special interests could pay for a lawmaker's cross-country golf outings. After all, both the House and Senate in 2007 responded to a spate of scandals by banning members of Congress from accepting gifts of any value from lobbyists or the companies that hire them.

But those reforms preserved a major loophole: leadership PACs like Chambliss' Republican Majority Fund [1], which have far looser rules and get far less scrutiny than campaign committees. At first, only a few rising stars in Congress had them. Now, 70 percent of the members do. So do a dozen former members.

Click here to see how your member of Congress spends his Leadership PAC money.