Here’s the Times’s Lipton talking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper last night about his piece:

I think that what it shows is that Washington is really a creative place.

There’s billions of dollars at stake, these corporations have agendas that they want to push, and that they are constantly looking for ways that they can work within the rules to influence members of Congress. And — and they have discovered that one way is to give donations to charities that they have founded, that they care about, and that impresses the members of Congress.

And there seems to be a correlation between those donations to those charities and then — and the — the positions frequently that the members of Congress take.

In addition to the Lipton piece, the Times also yesterday editorialized about money in politics and what it called “the meat and potatoes of Capitol culture:”

Members don’t twitter about it to the folks back home, but the heart of the workday often involves writing laws with one hand, then ducking out of the people’s House to beg for money with the other. It’s not that inconvenient. The smarter special-interest check writers are right in the neighborhood…

Taxpayers may wonder why the existing deep-pocket system came to be licit, why their elected public servants can (must?) routinely behave as crass mendicants.

Make that munificent mendicants.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.