In House of Cards, Kevin Spacey plays a duplicitous, self-serving networker who masterfully manipulates the political process for his own career gain. He is now playing this role in real life, as well.

Witness Bloomberg's surreal story today about House of Cards' lobbying efforts for tax breaks from the state of Maryland, where the show is filmed. It opens with Spacey himself chatting up state legislators at a posh reception, on behalf of his bosses' quest to win millions of dollars in increased tax credits from the state. (The show threatened to pack up and leave if they weren't granted an increase in Hollywood welfare.)

The Maryland state legislature—not a hotbed of attention from Hollywood A-listers—would seem to be little match for the show's star power. How easy is it for a popular show to wring millions of dollars in public money out of a state? From Bloomberg:

Cynthia Busch, wife of [Maryland] Democratic House Speaker Michael Busch, landed a role as a U.S. senator in the second season [of House of Cards]. She was paid about $100, and it won't sway her husband's vote, Busch spokeswoman Alexandra Hughes said in an e-mail.

"I had a really great experience — Kevin Spacey, holy smokes," Cynthia Busch said to WJZ-TV before attending the wine-bar reception last week.

Average citizens of Maryland, rest assured that your voices carry equal weight with your starstruck yokel legislators.

[Pic via]