It is illegal for lobbyists to pay for travel for lawmakers. Thus non profit corporations serve as money laundrys. Most are newly founded with vague names. However even I have heard of the Ripon society. Thomas Edsall shows just how unafraid of any kind of oversight Republicans became.
In recent years, however, a leading public watchdog group suggests, the Ripon Society has added an unofficial mission: travel agency to lobbyists.
Under president Richard S. Kessler, himself a prominent Washington lobbyist, people who represent corporate interests before Congress have "spent millions taking lawmakers to European capitals and U.S. resorts" under the auspices of the Ripon Society and the affiliated Ripon Educational Fund, the group Public Citizen charged in a new report.
They do have a sense of humor however
McNeill adamantly defended the conferences. "We are not skirting any ethics rules," he said, adding that the society has a "hard and fast," if unwritten, rule that "we don't allow any lobbying."