February 2006 posts

Do we even NEED lobbyists?

 From February, 2006

The recent scandals involving lobbyists are very alarming. The most obvious method of addressing pending legislation would be for panels to present pro and con information to Congress as a whole. Each side would present its case, lawmakers could ask questions, discuss the issues, and then vote. A legislator who doesn’t attend these sessions couldn’t vote on the issue.

Highly paid lobbyists wining and dining legislators promotes bribery or arm-twisting. And groups that can’t afford lobbyists are not getting a fair or equal opportunity for their issues to be heard. How difficult is it to see the problem with lobbyists presenting their interests to selected policy makers one-on-one? It’s all about influence and no longer about balanced consideration of all options and their ramifications.

If our legislators have time to have lunch and play golf with lobbyists from one side of an issue, then they have time to listen to presentations about BOTH sides of the issues. Actually, it’s nothing more than their job. If we don’t insist on changes to the status quo, we are essentially partners in the corruption. 

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