When lawmakers return to Washington this week they'll most likely get some attention from a new breed of lobbyists: Super PACs.
Super PACs were the so-called issue groups responsible for the bulk of those nasty ads that blanketed television screens this past election.
"This wasn't by any means the crescendo of Super PACs and independent expenditures," says Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly.
The new evolution of these outside groups is as lobbyists. With big tax, defense and spending questions looming before this lame duck Congress, these PACs are turning their eyes from influencing the election to influencing policy. Connolly says they're setting a dangerous precedent.
"It just again takes it to a whole new level in terms of quid pro quo, something I don't think should be a welcome development in our political debate," says Connolly.
The Super PACS and independent groups say they're merely advocating for issues important to their donors.