Donald Trump has generated headlines by contrasting himself with the other Republican contenders as the only one who had paid a politician for political favors.
"As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do," Trump told The Wall Street Journal. "As a businessman, I need that."
Maybe Trump is right: Perhaps paying politicians is the best way to generate returns. That's a lesson from investment research firm Strategas, which maintains a fund that has outperformed the S&P 500 for almost two decades. Developed in the wake of the financial crisis, its so-called "Real-Time Lobbying Index" is meant to capitalize on the increased regulation of the financial system. The thinking is that as politicians have more oversight of the markets, they could be in a position to help companies that had been generous.
Disgraced firm Enron was a huge proponent of this approach, paying millions to push back against regulation.