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Stop Washington lobbyists (read legalized corruption)

  1. Jun 26, 2007 #1
    Dear PF friends,

    The number one issue for the new presidential elections should be to put an mediate halt to the legalized corruption that is going on by Washington lobbyists. This is the reason why the US has made so many decisions that is in the absolute worst interest of the general population. IT IS DESTROYING AMERICA!!.
     
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  3. Jun 26, 2007 #2

    turbo

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    Congress could stop the practice, but they will not because it's of benefit to them. Lobbyists are in town to exert influence and in DC influence=money! I would go one step farther and cap campaign contributions at an amount that the average citizen can afford and ban any contributions except from individuals - nothing from businesses, special interest groups, etc - just individuals. We the people are supposed to be represented by our elected officials, and as soon as they get to DC, they start filling their pockets and do the bidding of big businesses and special-interest groups that pay them. You can bet that if I could afford to pay my Congressman $20,000 to speak to my wife and myself at breakfast, he'd be giving me a whole lot more attention than he is currently. If these groups and their lobbies were legally forbidden to give money to Congressional members, their influence over our government would dry up.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2007 #3

    russ_watters

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    There is no constitutional way to eliminate the practice of lobbying. It would require eliminating campaign contributions entirely. Essentially, the lobbyist is the voice of the group making the contributions. So it is entirely legal and Constitutional for a lobbyist to hand a politician an energy policy paper and then a great-big bag of money. Is that legalized bribery? Perhaps...
     
  5. Jun 26, 2007 #4

    turbo

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    Sorry, Russ. The authority granted to our government arises from the will of the populace. The perversion of our government by the robber-barons and businesses has elevated the rights of these entities to the point where they surpass the rights of individuals. Can you find in our Constitution any rights that accrue to businesses or special-interest groups? No.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  6. Jun 26, 2007 #5

    russ_watters

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    What you said there sounds nice but doesn't actually make an argument relevant to the topic, turbo-1. The 'if-it-isn't-explicitly-stated-in-the-constitution-it-doesn't-exist' argument is meaningless. There is a reason why we also need laws.

    Lobbying might violate the spirit of what the Constitution is about (which may be what you were really trying to say), but it would be extremely difficult to outlaw it without forming some contradictions to things like the 1st amendment.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2007 #6
    Clearly not the America of the lobbyists.
     
  8. Jun 26, 2007 #7

    turbo

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    Voters must be represented by the people elected to office. In the 1800s and going forward, huge infusions of cash have perverted the inclinations of our law-makers to the detriment of regular citizens. This has created an oligarchy (not too far from a monarchy) in which the rights of the individual can be swamped by the influence of the privileged.
     
  9. Jun 26, 2007 #8

    russ_watters

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    Again, that doesn't really have anything to do with the issue. You are talking in broad generalities that don't have any tangible link to the actual specifics of the issue. Let me give some hypothetical cases and maybe you can say what you think about them:

    Case 1: I'm an adult citizen of moderate means. I send my Congressman a letter arguing that he should vote for a certain bill. At the bottom of the letter, I say "P.S., otherwise you are doing a great job, so here's a check for $10 for your re-election campaign." He votes for the bill. Did I just bribe him and should any/all of that be illegal? (I suspect this very thing happens thousands of times a year)
     
  10. Jun 27, 2007 #9
    Man talk about hypothetical.:rolleyes: Now days that is more like a fairy tale.
     
  11. Jun 27, 2007 #10

    russ_watters

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    ????? Fairy tale? You don't think such a thing happens several times a day?????? Heck, I may just do it tomorrow to prove the point!
     
  12. Jun 27, 2007 #11

    BobG

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    I received a survey from the Republican National Committee just about a week ago asking me my opinions about things such as:

    "If Democrats try to gut the USA Patriot Act and other important laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans, should Republicans in Congress fight back?"

    At the end of the survey, I'm given the opportunity to contribute $500, $250, $100, $50, $25, or other to the RNC to help get candidates elected that support issues that Republican voters believe in.

    People in the US band together all the time to provide both vocal support and economic support for the issues they believe in and helping get candidates that will further those goals elected is just a logical extension - and a Constitutional right.

    I agree that corporations are able to band together to give a lot stronger support to their pet issue than the average citizens, but finding a practical way to ban one without banning the other is the tricky part.
     
  13. Jun 27, 2007 #12
    I am from the Netherlands arguably one of the most liberal countries of the world. I was surprised to find out that there are several Dutch companies that financially support bills/candidates which could not be more opposed to our view. When we rely on corporations to set our moral standards we are in deep deep trouble
    http://weblogs.nrc.nl/~ftpnewyork/docs/donatiesrompstuk.pdf In Dutch but bottom chart is self explanatory
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  14. Jun 27, 2007 #13

    russ_watters

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    A company is a group of people - does that group of people have the right to express their opinion and support a candidate?
     
  15. Jun 27, 2007 #14
    In a political action committee PAC the employee is not always aware which candidate they are actually supporting. I know it is a hard thing to outlaw Russ however, I am just throwing out there that horrible decisions are being made because of this.
     
  16. Jun 27, 2007 #15
    A company is not a group of people, instead it is a legal entity separate from its owners.

    Actually I see nothing good coming from allowing such entities to donate money to political institutions, but that is just me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  17. Jun 27, 2007 #16
    Bob
    I didn't mention banning anything, but surely there must be a better way than what this system has evolved into.

    Our system has become totally corrupted compared to the original intent of the laws regarding access to federal law makers.. And it isn't just on the federal level anymore, "the lobby trickle down theory" ( if it works in DC it must be good) has brought problems of undue influence to State and local governments.

    This has always been true to a certain extent, but when PAC money starts to use push polls for instance, it is time to re-evaluate our priorities.

    BTW many of the surveys such as the one you mention are carefully crafted by P.R firm psychologists to intentionally and almost subconsciously influence ones thinking. A lot of us can see through that like a pane of glass, but a lot of Americans can't. For that matter far too many Americans can't even read the blasted surveys.

    As for the particular survey question you mentioned, I am sure you realize that it is all about money. They don't give a hoot what you think. All surveys of that nature include the infamous "protect the security Americans" phrase.
     
  18. Jun 28, 2007 #17

    russ_watters

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    The employee chose to be a part of the group. Ignorance or desperation is not an excuse for doing things you don't believe in.
     
  19. Jun 28, 2007 #18

    russ_watters

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    I think you are missing my point. A company is defined as a legal entity to partially insulate the owners from personal liability for the company's actions and to provide a path for governing/legislating the actions of companies (including legal recourse for breaking the law). That is necessary for companyies to be able to function.

    But that does not change the fact that a "company" doesn't make decisions on its own, the people in the company make the decisions (colectively or through representatives).

    So could you put your opinion into practical terms: what exactly would you outlaw? Would you outlaw the contribution to a political party/politician by all but individuals? Ie, outlaw the grouping-together of money/influence?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
  20. Jun 28, 2007 #19
    If "people in the company" includes shareholders, Enron would not be a good example of this representation.:rolleyes:

    It seems that we are getting more and more large conglomerates that are as distanced from their shareholders as I am from my Congressman.

    If I send my congressman a letter I get a standard form letter as a response.
    The letter states that my concerns will be directed to the appropriate person.

    If I e-mail my congressman I receive an electronically generated e-mail which states that the congressman receives so many emails that his office can not respond. The reply does ,however, thank me for sending the e-mail.

    If I call, I get the congressman's local office who's employees haven't seen the guy since sometime last March. They claim that they will forward my issue to the proper office.

    On the other hand, the Lobbyist of a large out of state corporation which has donated heavily to the congressman or his party, is going to get to have lunch or perhaps a game of golf with my congressman.:yuck:
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
  21. Jun 28, 2007 #20

    russ_watters

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    Uh, that would fall under the "through representatives" part..... The shareholders select/elect the board and CEO.
    Apathy is not a reasonable excuse for inaction. In Enron's case, the shareholders and employees were actually defrauded (and the leadership appropriately punished), but if by apathy or bad decision making they select a ceo with a bad vision who runs the company into the ground, too bad.
    So then you agree that you would be better-off if you formed a club of some sort and pooled your resources to get a better response...?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
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