Sure, contacting after admissions does look like you're trying to get them to speak to adcomm, but what's wrong with that? That is what you want them to do anyway.
I do think this only makes sense if your POI's will also have an interest in you (and your research background). If an email after applying can convince a professor that you'd be an excellent member of their research group, I think it's worth sending. It's not cheesy or inappropriate--you want admission and they want good students for their research group. The worst thing that can happen is they ignore you, and the best thing that can happen is they stick their head into adcomm, or know more about you when reading your application.
Case in point:
After sending an email (after application) detailing my research experience and my interest in Professor XXXXXX's research, and responding to an email asking more about my background (and if I'd be interested in RA funding for the first year
), I received the following response:
I am not on the admissions committee, but I will look out for your application here.
I got something similar from 2 other faculty from different schools, including an offer for a phone conversation about a professor's research.