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Old    GD (diamonddad)      Join Date: Mar 2010       11-06-2011, 9:08 PM Reply   
All of America should have watched 60 minutes tonight.

Lobbyists are the problem. All polititians suck up to them for perks and funds.

Our votes can not combat this. America is bent over for campaign TV ads that they must have.

Wallstreet is hardly the problem.

Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 5:06 AM Reply   
Couldn't agree more. These guys we elect have no idea what they are doing when they write laws. The only thing they know is what the lobbyists tell them. I'll have to watch that.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 8:47 AM Reply   
A lobbyist would be prosecuted under RICO if they were exchanging funds for votes. I think there is a general misconception about what lobbyist do and the term is often conflated and used to describe other people involved in politics that are NOT lobbyist. Campaign ads are done by PR firms which are not lobbying firms.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       11-07-2011, 8:49 AM Reply   
^But from where do the funds come to pay for said ads?
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 9:08 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wake77 View Post
^But from where do the funds come to pay for said ads?
A number of places... Most come from the campaign or political action committees neither of which employ lobbyist. Businesses, Trade Organizations, Unions, and NGOs (Sierra Club, AARP, NFIB, so on) may employ lobbyists and make contributions to campaigns or PACs but their lobbyist cannot be a part of that transaction. The law clearly separates these functions.

Again, I think there is a public and media misunderstanding of who the lobbyists are and what they do. To lobby you must be registered and there are extensive financial disclosures required as well as strict laws or regulations that control the industry. However, for purposes of arguments and in the press anyone who expresses an opinion or campaigns publicly is deemed a lobbyist. A CEO, labor leader, environmentalist or other person who meets with a Senator to express his position on a piece of legislation might be lobbying but he is NOT a lobbyist. Lobbyists are bound to a strict set of laws and ethical standards those other people are not required to abide by.

Last edited by norcalrider; 11-07-2011 at 9:18 AM.
Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 10:39 AM Reply   
Didn't realize what this was about. Not sure what they mean about opening his playbook for the first time. It's been on Netflix streaming for quite a while. Watch the movie "Casino Jack and the United States of Money". The documentary version not the movie version.
Old    GD (diamonddad)      Join Date: Mar 2010       11-07-2011, 10:43 AM Reply   
Quote:
Campaign ads are done by PR firms which are not lobbying firms.
Wow. No kidding.

Quote:
A CEO, labor leader, environmentalist or other person who meets with a Senator to express his position on a piece of legislation might be lobbying but he is NOT a lobbyist.
Mincing words. OK, we have the best government money can buy. Call the process what your want.
Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 10:52 AM Reply   
I posted this on 4/12/11 so 60 minutes is not what I'd call on the cutting edge of what's going on...

Quote:
Rent the movie "Casino Jack and the United States of Money". While the culprits in that movie are mainly Republicans, the situation is the same for both parties. Our govt is bought and sold by all our representatives.
They could have written the whole segment just buy watching the documentary. But it's great to see it repeated.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 12:21 PM Reply   
GD, I'm hardly mincing words. The first amendment guarantees the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Which means anyone can lobby. Just as anyone can represent themselves in court. However, it is usually best practice to hire an attorney when you are going to court and a lobbyist if you need to interact with the government. Laws clearly establish what lobbyists can and cannot do. Jack Abramoff and others have given the profession a bad name but to make a blanket statement that lobbyist are the problem is wrong.

The problem is who we choose to elect, not the people they interact with. It is just an expedient argument to claim that lobbyist are one and the same PAC managers because in general people do not understand how our political process works. So it is easier to find a scapegoat and to blame the process, a process that works, but requires robust participation from stakeholders. Lobbyist just represent those stakeholders.
Old    McGavin (Shooter)      Join Date: Apr 2010       11-07-2011, 1:01 PM Reply   
"the problem is who we elect"
no, the problem is the broken system. Can anyone that has not "sold out" stand a chance to win in our current political system?

"Anyone can lobby" and "It is usually best practice when you are going to court a lobbyist if you need to interact with the government"
Two conflicting statements. More like anyone who has money and can gain more money can lobby. The "people majority" can not afford to lobby or pay for lawyers, so the "people majority" are no longer being represented. This is not what our forefathers intended.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       11-07-2011, 1:18 PM Reply   
"Which means anyone can lobby."

Since we are all being honest here, who is going to get a meeting first (or ever) with their Congressman? An 80-year-old widow receiving SS benefits, or a lobbyist hired by a major corporation? "Money talks, BS walks"
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 1:43 PM Reply   
The 80-year old widow is most likely represented by the strongest lobby in the country, the AARP. Again, you continue to assume lobbyists only represent major corporations whereas the strongest lobbying is done by groups of citizen with issue area concerns, i.e. AARP, NRA, Sierra Club, SEIU. In your scenario she could directly petition her elected officials or if she wants to add the weight of the AARP she could work with their lobbyists to bring her problems to light or even resolve issues that can be taken care of without legislation or regulations.

Getting access to elected officials is not as hard as you state. Much easier to work through issues with their staff as they are incredibly skilled and can get you good answers or help you find answers. The key is pinpointing the concern and taking it to the right level of government (local, state or federal) and then the right branch of government. Go through the lobbyist registrations in your state and it doesn't take long to realize most constituencies are represented by an organization that employs a lobbyist.

The system is NOT broken. It is working as it should and on par with how it always has, just significantly more complex than when founded due to the increased complexity of society. But the day to day function of the independent branches of government and fair election of our representatives is still the best system ever implemented.

Last edited by norcalrider; 11-07-2011 at 1:46 PM.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       11-07-2011, 1:51 PM Reply   
Mik, you assume that because the widow is represented by the AARP, the lobbyist from the AARP is going every interest that is important to the widow. Perhaps the woman, who may or may not be a member of the AARP, may have a concern that conflicts with the interests of the AARP. And considering there are approximately 40 million members, this is not a stretch. So will she be fairly represented? In your model, assuming that we are all mindless zombies and we agree 100% with the mission of our chosen association(s), then lobbyists are great.
Old    David Williams (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       11-07-2011, 2:14 PM Reply   
I believe term limits will go a long way towards eliminating the influence of lobbyists. Not only will the fresh meat go in there with the intention of not being swayed by lobbyests (if we vote in the right people), but the little time they'd be in Washington would limit the amount of influence outside forces would have on them. Looking at it from the other side, a lobbyist has to build relationships over many years and the longer they build, the more influence they have. However, if you set up the system so that they have to start their entire "influencing" process over again every six or eight years, it will drastically reduce how effective they are. I'm sure there are no stats on this stuff, but I be if there were it would show that the longer a representative has served, the more they are influenced by lobbyists.

Not the complete answer to the problem, but I think it would be a huge step forward!
Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 2:19 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeworld View Post
I believe term limits will go a long way towards eliminating the influence of lobbyists.
Bottom line +1.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 2:24 PM Reply   
Jeremy, that was not the assumption at all. The point is that if you have a specific concern there are reasonable means for the average citizen to express them with the weight of a strong lobby. I'm a member of the NRA and Surfrider Foundation. Worked for people who are NFIB members, CBIA members, local Chamber of Commerce members and so on. All of those organizations have lobbyists that can represent me in specific issue areas if I choose to engage them for support on my issue. However, if you choose to go alone, call your local, state, or federal elected officials and have a conversation. The only barrier is self imposed. It is not that hard to deal with government if you are well prepared and focused on specifics.

What lobbyist bring to the table is knowledge of who to call, how to express the concern, how to build support for the cause and the institutional background on the issues.

I remember a number of years ago there was a bill out there that when introduced, among other things, would ban wakesurfing. The cause for introduction of this measure was teak surfing. There was a lot of grassroots work but with an emotional issue triggered from negligent operator behavior the bill was going to pass with minor opposition. Ultimately several organizations like the Marina Recreation Association, California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains, California Marine Parks and Harbors Association, Northern California Marine Association, Recreational Motorized vesselers of California, Southern, California Marine Association, Western Motorized vesselers Safety Group and others who opposed came in a created a win-win , where teak surfing was banned, the boat manufacturers would include warnings about CO and the language that would have banned wakesurfing, among others things, were removed. This is a more common example than those assumed about lining pockets or tax breaks. Most lobbying is intricate, technical, and beneficial to improving the proposed law or regulation.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 2:31 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeworld View Post
I believe term limits will go a long way towards eliminating the influence of lobbyists.
I disagree and you do not have to look outside of California to see this. Term limits have created many of the State's issues as the elected officials are not in office long enough to have any institutional knowledge on the subjects they are legislating and must rely heavily on insights from the experts on either side of the coin. It also gives more power to political staff and bureaucracy who often have more power than their elected boss. Additionally, they will not be in office long enough to see most of their policies implemented.

A long standing legislator can be patient with reform and has intimate knowledge of the government programs that they are legislating to modify or change. They also become immune to outside influence as sitting elected officials are generally re-elected even when strongly challenged. This allows them to make tough decisions that may not be to the liking of typically allied constituencies.

I used to be a fan of term limits until the results of them hit California. Open primaries and citizen redistricting are good reforms imo.

Last edited by norcalrider; 11-07-2011 at 2:37 PM.
Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 2:38 PM Reply   
Mik, unfortunate for you that you are arguing in favor of demonstrated failure.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 2:45 PM Reply   
John, this doom and gloom that is perpetuating through society is not demonstrated failure. We are on bad times but things will recover.
Old    John Anderson (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       11-07-2011, 3:17 PM Reply   
Oh I expect things to recover eventually. The reason is because eventually it will get so f**k'd up that we'll finally start to get a grasp on the problem and do something about it. But I disagree. We are seeing demonstrated failure.
Old    GD (diamonddad)      Join Date: Mar 2010       11-07-2011, 3:56 PM Reply   
I agree that we all have the right to "lobby". We can send an email or call on the phone or fart loudly in central park.

The problem is entirely THE MONEY. We will be broken unless we take away their financial interest to sell us out.
Old    Mik (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-07-2011, 4:21 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddad View Post
I agree that we all have the right to "lobby". We can send an email or call on the phone or fart loudly in central park.

The problem is entirely THE MONEY. We will be broken unless we take away their financial interest to sell us out.
Then campaign finance should be the focus and I would agree with the need for additional reforms. That being said I would hope any reform in campaign finance will treat corporations and NGOs (AARP, NRA, Unions, Sierra Club, ect.) equally. Previous attempts singled out corporations but would have allowed NGOs, I found that to be disingenuous.

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