New Lobbying Organization Tries To Skirt The Rules So It's Not Called A Lobbying Organization

from the funny-how-that-works... dept

The term “lobbyist” has certainly become a dirty word in many circles — for a very valid reason in many cases. I’ve noticed that many more people have been trying to make sure they’re not referred to as lobbyists, even if the activity they do is very much lobbying (accepting money from a specific set of companies for the express purpose of pushing a policy agenda that supports what those companies want). Now Copycense alerts us to a new operation that has sprung up that apparently is trying to contort itself around the rules so as not to be called lobbyists, even though they’re engaged in typical lobbyist behavior. It makes you wonder… who lobbied for the rules on how you define what a lobbyist is?

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Comments on “New Lobbying Organization Tries To Skirt The Rules So It's Not Called A Lobbying Organization”

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Matthew says:

Mike hints at this but I’ll say it outright. Idealistically, lobbying isn’t dirty. Although the term we envision now is somebody paid by an industry, who often uses misinformation to achieve narrow goals, the term could also refer to any person whose only job is influencing the political process. Your community wants reform? Take up a collection and pay for one of your councilmen to spend the next year in Washington instead of working a day job. A lobby, technically speaking, is just a way for a large number of people to connect with politicians more directly. Rather than 100 people writing letters, you have one person who can talk to the politician face-to-face (sometimes.)

Jon B. says:

Re: Re:

Indeed. This bears repeating.

I also hate the term “special interest group” (i.e. the people who hire the lobbyists). Teachers and corn farmers are special interest groups. But no one ever uses the terms “Big Corn” or “Big Learnin'” when they refer to those groups.

The process isn’t inherently evil.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Indeed. This bears repeating.”

Which Bear? Like, as in Berenstein, or Urlacher? Because Urlacher is injured, and Berenstein is just a toy….

“The process isn’t inherently evil.”

Sorry, can’t agree. When you officially give money political weight, you’ve already lost. That’s a system that INVITES corruption into it. If you want to clean this up, it’s REALLY easy. No more lobbying. No more treating corporations as separate individuals from their employees/owners/board. No more politcal donations from companies at all, and limit political donations by individuals to something reasonable, say $1000 per person. Then prosecute anyone who defies these rules by chopping off their privates with each abuse.

TADAA! You’ve limited political corruption from money!

Jon B. says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Berenstein. Mainly because they couldn’t come up with decent first names.

I didn’t say bribery, I said lobbying. The lobbying itself (sending an individual to communicate with officials) isn’t inherently evil. Now, if there’s bribery going on, then sure, limit that as much as possible.

Your suggestion wouldn’t limit political corruption from money. It would just drive it underground. Thanks to McCain/Feingold we now have individuals in low-rent housing somehow writing $2000 checks to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And campaigns don’t collect much money anymore – but we suddenly have loads of organizations (e.g. SBVFT) that aren’t – we promise – affiliated with someone’s campaign.

Don’t try to take the money out of the system. Keep the money out in the open where we can all see where it’s going and call it out in public, and if possible, make sure it stays out in the open.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“No more politcal donations from companies at all, and limit political donations by individuals to something reasonable, say $1000 per person.”

Uhm… if you look at Sweden they’ve had a history of having the PEOPLE in control compared to other nations. In fact, they have traditionally had fewer intellectual property laws and as a result they had a more prosperous and innovative chemistry industry. It wasn’t until other countries influenced and almost forced (with trade sanction threats) Sweden to embrace stricter intellectual property laws that they complied.

One thing you’ll notice about Sweden is that they don’t have limits on individual campaign contributions.

In fact, the pirate party started in Sweden and when they asked for money everyone was freely allowed to hand over cash to them and they did. No government intervention.

Regarding your $1000 limit on campaign contributions to individuals, such a law already exists in the U.S. and wow, you got the $1000 exactly correct.

The fact is that corporations and evil rich people will channel money to their motives one way or another, be it legally by finding legal loopholes or they’ll do it illegally. In the public eye or behind closed doors, it’s going to get done. These people have no regard for morality and they have no regard for the law. Yes, they pretend to regard copyright law but only to the extent that it benefits them (as the CRIA has shown), they’ll infringe in a second if they think it benefits them and they can get away with it.

as for campaign contributions, even if they can’t contribute directly they’ll find ways to contribute indirectly (ie: paying for ad commercials for various politicians and such, buying out American media to only promote one person over others, which they pretty much have done already).

I just want to note that your solutions seem oversimplified.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Regarding your $1000 limit on campaign contributions to individuals”

Err.. that should read

“Regarding your $1000 limit on individual campaign contributions”

Oh, and the numbers are a bit off.

It’s $2,300 for a federal candidate (the number changes, I remember it being only $1000 when I learned about it in school but I suppose it’s higher now).

“$2,300 per Election to a Federal candidate — Each primary, runoff, and general election counts as a separate election.”

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yeah, i was obviously not looking up the numbers as I posted, I was just tossing out general ideas.

And yes, my solutions, if you can even call them that, SHOULD seem overly simplified…mostly because the ideal government I envison is tiny at the federal level and bigger at the local level, in which case simple solutions tend to work a lot better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Perhaps the law should be, “the higher your income, the less you can donate.” Or perhaps it can be a function of income and how much you pay in taxes. Or maybe a function of income and how much property you own. Or maybe a function of all of that plus how much you contribute to charitable organizations. Then again, that could give incentive to name a group that promotes what corporations want to call itself a charitable organization.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

err… that should read “the higher your income, the less you can contribute.”

Perhaps big corporations should be allowed to contribute much less than smaller businesses. The bigger the corporation, the less it can contribute. Sure it won’t stop big corporations from contributing but it might deter them enough to level the playing field for the little guy.

I don’t think this will really work but it’s just an idea to consider. Perhaps we can find ways to discriminate against big corporations and wealthy people specifically in this regard just to level things out a bit.

Lobbest (not misspelled) says:

Re: Re: "Big Learnin"

Ever hear of the NEA (National Education Assn.) at http://www.nea.ORG, and their state affiliated organizations? VERY BIG, VERY POWERFUL, VERY ACTIVE!!!! Oh, and VERY liberal political agenda, too.

If we are a democracy (as many claim we are) then why do we need lobbist peddling influence (which inherently leads to corruption at its very core) to our elected REPRESENTATIVES at all levels of government! Ok, so groups should be allowed some level of organized representation, BUT NO MONEY or any thing valued as an asset should be given to any elected person for any reason, period. A lobbist should be allowed to present opinion, information, concern, idea, etc. on behalf of their client, but that is all.

NullOp says:


No doubt some rat-bastard lobbyist “help” write the rules! I have little tolerance for these people! Many of today’s inequities in society can be attributed to lobbyists. Example: do you really think prescription drugs cost as much as claimed to produce? NO, THEY DON’T. But lobbyists have convinced our government that their obscene profit is “only fair.” Lobbying, in all it’s forms, should be outlawed and a capital crime as another way to look at it is interfering with the government.

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