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Local News

March 10, 2008

'He was worth every penny' 'Sand-a Claus' lobbyist earns praise from beach towns

(Continued)

The three towns split Marlowe's $50,000 fee, Hogg said.

John MacLean was city manager in Venice, Fla., when the Gulf Coast municipality hired Marlowe to work with the local congressional delegation on what was ultimately a successful beach replenishment project under MacLean's successor, George Hunt.

"Your congressional delegation can do a lot, but I think we found was that there were a lot of contacts that had to be made and it's unrealistic to expect your congressman to do all that," said MacLean, now the city manager in Keene, N.H.

City Manager Tom Leath of Myrtle Beach, a popular South Carolina resort community, a relatively recent Marlowe client, said lobbyists supplement the effort of local congressional staffers in couple of key ways.

"What lobbyists can do that your local congressman can't do is make sure all the deadlines are met if you're going after grants or earmarks," Leath said. "Lobbyists do their best to make sure that the right staff person has the right document to back up your argument. They deal with congressional people who are not from your district, but who you need to know about your argument."

Elected officials with many constituencies to represent can't focus on any single project, Leath said, so comunities have to pay lobbyists to keep track of things.

"It's a shame you have to do that, but you have to do that," he said.

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