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AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas “Capitol Inside” political Web site/blog (www.capitolinside.com) does an annual ranking of Texas power lobbyists and groups. Texas Credit Union League’s political advocacy team of Buddy Gill, Jeff Huffman, Mance Bowden and Carolyn Saegert made the 2004 “Top 15″ list for the Private Sector Associations category, weighing in at #15 – and noticeably, no Texas banking trade associations made the list. `This is very impressive company we keep on this list, some powerful groups. Hopefully, we will move up the list in the next round of rankings for 2005, given this year’s hard work. We will be continuing our Advocacy focus, organizing and energizing our formidable grassroots machinery, and making politically sound investments in Austin,” a League memo to credit unions stated. Powerful lobby associations protect the interests of entire industries or vast networks of public workers and the government institutions that employ them. This helps them create an action response network through which they can get members to email or call elected officials to turn up the pressure in a traditional, yet effective, grassroots level strategy. TCUL has focused on mobilizing its network since the fight for passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act. Capitol Inside promotes itself as the ultimate guide to power in Texas politics and government. The Texas Lobby Power Rankings are based on a subjective system of information gathering from a small group of selective advisors that includes members of the Legislature, the press, the consulting business or the lobby itself. Factors such as the amount of compensation and the number of clients a lobbyist reports to the Texas Ethics Commission are incorporated into the decision-making process, according to Capitol Inside, along with a number of intangible variables such as a lobbyist’s connections, overall access, reputation, experience – and in even-numbered years – actual track record during the legislative session of the previous calendar year. “Success as a lobbyist can’t be calculated by the amount of money somebody makes or the sheer number of clients they report or the marquee nature of their Rolodex,” Capitol Inside told its subscribers. “The Texas Lobby Power Rankings are not portending to say who is the best lobbyist in town or the nicest or the busiest. This is all about power – and that’s an art – not a science.” -

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