Washington Lobbyist Buys Daughter a Congressman for Her Birthday
By David Epstein
WASHINGTON — Like all fathers trying to find the perfect birthday gift for a finicky 11-year-old girl, Rich Dollars agonized over what to buy for his daughter, Mesmerized. She had dropped her fair share of hints in the weeks leading up to the day she turned 12, but Rich wanted to surprise her.
“When she was smaller, you could just get her a doll and she’d be happy. Now she’s getting really picky and it’s harder and harder to please her,” said Mr. Dollars, a registered lobbyist with the firm Akin Gump.
This year, Mr. Dollars struck upon a unique and interesting gift: his daughter’s very own congressman. The congressman, Rep. Allegiance Forsale, was pledged to Mr. Dollar’s daughter, Mesmerized B., at a lavish birthday party. ”I had been hopping for a pony, or maybe a a cell phone,” said the birthday girl. “I don’t really know what to do with him. I had been hoping for a gift that I could show off to my friends at school.”
Mr. Dollars had his daughter’s party double as a fundraising event for Rep. Forsale, who holds a prominent position on the House Committee on Financial Services. Mr. Dollars worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission long enough to understand how it regulates banks before leaving to lobby for his banking clients. Dollars said that his selection of which congressperson to purchase was in no way affected by the clients for whom he is registered to lobby.
The congressman rejects the notion that he has been ‘purchased’ by a lobbyist, though his record following the girl’s birthday party does raise questions. He has introduced a bill which would revoke the appointment of Philip Levine as the nation’s poet laureate and would replace him with Justin Bieber. He has also called for the censure of Wendy Banks, a classmate of Mesmerized B. Dollars who, in the words of Mesmerized herself, is “that [expletive] who spread the rumor that I made out with Jake. I totally did not! She did!”
Photo courtesy of home.nps.gov