Pols Are Out to Lunch

Despite new campaign finance laws, this year's presidential contest is expected to be the most expensive ever, with some inside pols predicting that spending will reach or surpass $1 billion, according to a recent report from the World Policy Institute. While unlimited donations to national party committees were banned in 2002, corporations and labor unions can pour out the dough at the conventions. In Boston, there were 250 events for Dems to attend. All told, corporations, labor unions, and individuals will shell out $100 million, with the preponderance ($64 million) going to the Republican convention.

Among the biggies in Boston: Textron's party for Louisiana Democratic senator Mary Landrieu and Lockheed Martin's breakfast spreads for the North Dakota and New York delegations.

Congresswoman Jane Harmon of California was honored at a brunch by defense contractors Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC.

After contributing $100,000 or more each for a Symphony Hall gala, major drug dealers Bristol-Myers and Squibb, along with Raytheon and the AFL-CIO, got to attend a private post-event reception with Senator Ted Kennedy.

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