The political spending rescue has come from Sheldon Adelson, whose fortune is in casinos and who is fighting to end online gambling, and William Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management and who has gone after the nutrition supplements company Herbalife.
The wealthy duo's cash injection — close to $4 million poured into direct lobbying — has brought millions to the table as consultants and lobbyists mount fights in Washington on behalf of their personal interests, Politico found.
"It shows that rich guys with pet projects are getting pretty sophisticated when it comes to pushing their agendas, and it’s pretty easy to do with enough money," Public Campaign's Adam Smith told Politico.
The infusion is badly needed. In 2013, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, K Street spending hit its lowest numbers since 2007, dropping by about 3 percent to $3.2 billion.
The number of lobbyists also dipped to 12,281 — the lowest on record since 2002, CNBC reported.
Notables on Adelson's payroll for his Sands Casino in Las Vegas include two former lawmakers: Democrat Blanche Lincoln, who served in the Senate, and Connie Mack, who served in the House, Politico reported. A nonprofit Adelson started called the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling also employs George Pataki, the former governor of New York.
Ackman has hired, among several others, former Obama associates Bill Burton and Jim Papa for his efforts against Herbalife.
Noted Politico of their investment: "Longtime K Street watchers aren’t surprised by the spending spree. Ackman and Adelson have needed to hire so many firms because in Washington inertia and resistance to change are always easier than getting something done."