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In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 08, 2006 02:01PM
Any real, valid, good reason, that is. Seems to me that things would be much better (read: cleaner) without them. Feel free to explain it to a political moran (sic).
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: spearmint
Date: January 08, 2006 02:11PM
In theory they bring issues to the attention of legislators they might not be aware of and keep them aware. In reality they are trying to influence/buy votes.




Da Good Life
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 08, 2006 03:25PM
If you were a congressional staffer for a candidate who lost - how else would you earn a living? (assuming you weren't female)
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 08, 2006 04:11PM
It's mostly attorneys whose folks called in favors to set them up with cushy jobs.

Without lobbying firms to keep them occupied, our country clubs wuld be overpopulated and it would take ages to get a tee.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: davester
Date: January 08, 2006 11:24PM
Lobbying is legalized bribery. It is a huge source of corruption in the US system of government. That's all.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: hermes
Date: January 09, 2006 12:41AM
Do you ask if it makes sense or should they be allowed by law?

Lobbyists are a key communication link in a system that demands communication. But they can radically bias the government by represention process. So your question could be "Do they mess up representative government?" My answer would be yes, but maybe no worse than any other way for 250,000,000 million people to coordinate their enterprise.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: January 09, 2006 02:15AM
Lobbyists are an extention of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The right to free speech and the right to petition the government against grievances.

The perception that today is different than before is a historical fallacy and modern day ego trip. Money has always been the determining factor in "redressing" grievances and many administrations, not just this current one, have succumbed to the bribes.

It may be an insoluble problem, not unlike the war on drugs. If find a way to remove the need for massive amounts of money to run for office let the people at DEA know; maybe they use the info to curtail the consumer market that drugs satisfy.

It's a crime to allow private companies to sell public air time they license from the public, back to the public, in the form of paid political ads.

One solution would be to ban all political advertising over publicly licensed air or ground lines.

As a former editor/publisher, I can tell you we salivated over the political "season". Those top dollar paid-in-advance ads were almost as much as lucrative as the government mandated "classifieds".



"Who's more foolish - the fool or the fool that follows him?" - Obi Wan Kenobi
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: January 09, 2006 08:55AM
I am not a registered lobbyist, although I derive a small portion of my income performing similar activities. I also worked for a lobbyist and was a public official.

As long as there are companies and organizations willing to pay lobbyists, there will be lobbyists. Some companies farm out the work and some hire their own. In general, companies or organizations don't want to bother to follow the issues themselves, so the bring in a lobbyist to do it for them.

Unfortunately, it costs so much money to run a political campaign these days, that, unless you are a multimillionaire, you will have to spend much of your time raising money. And therein lies the slippery slope of relying on lobbyists. Well-meaning restrictions on fundraising, the so-called campaign finance "reform," is just making it harder for middle-class people to afford to run for office.

For better or worse, such activity is protected by the First Amendment. Heck, if all of you want to hire me as the Macresource government affairs specialist, I'd be happy to oblige. winking smiley
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: brofoski
Date: January 09, 2006 10:57AM
I knew a guy in college who's father was a lobbyist. His father was basically paid to party. It was pretty fun when he'd come to town with his credit card, though.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 09, 2006 11:13PM
I'm not a lobbyist, but I play one on the forum.

I'm actually a candidate.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: January 12, 2006 01:43AM
which platform do you represent? winking smiley
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: January 12, 2006 10:34AM
Legal bribery....nuff said.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: January 12, 2006 01:53PM
brofoski Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I knew a guy in college who's father was a
> lobbyist. His father was basically paid to party.
> It was pretty fun when he'd come to town with his
> credit card, though.

Yeah, that's one of the perks. The biggest drawback is that you have to wear a suit a lot.

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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Teela Brown
Date: January 14, 2006 08:02AM
RogF, don't lobbyists focus most of their attention on legislators rather than administrations?

Lobbyists do perform an important function.

Contrary to the widely held belief on most internet forums, most issues aren't black and white. Costs and benefits must be weighed before making sweeping decisions. Lobbyists have the resources to research issues (and present the research as lopsidedly as they dare, of course) in ways your representatives couldn't do with their relatively small staffs. Your legislators can't all be experts in every single issue that comes before them, can they?

In an ideal world, opposing lobbyists present good information and our legislators are honest and intelligent enough to review the information and to write bills as well as they can not to do more damage than good, and then vote in their constituents' best interest. If they go back home and can't convince the voters that they voted right when it's most important, they get booted.

The custom has other natural checks. Lobbyists who burn legislators with bad information lose influence no matter how many lagniappes they hand out.

Actually, the system works pretty well in some places. Vermont is small enough that crooked pols get caught or voted out most of the time. Most people are no more dishonest than you are. (If you're a crook, you'll tend to believe all people are crooks.)

"Partying" is a small part of what lobbyists do despite what brofoski's expert source says. Though provocative, it is little different from a salesman wooing a client by wining and dining. In business, accepting personal rewards for bogus purchasing and getting caught is a fireable offence. In government, it's a jail-able offence. It's the catching that's tough in both cases.

If you're truly concerned that the system works against voters' best interests, term limits and the line item veto would help.
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: January 15, 2006 05:02AM
>If you're truly concerned that the system works against >voters' best interests, term limits and the line item veto >would help.

Worst approach, in my opinion. If an experienced lawmaker with no ethical issues is forced to go find another job because of term limits, it only increases the influence of lobbyists and the folks who fund them.

Not only that but the loss of "institutional memory" almost guarantees these people will keep repeating past mistakes, mistakes that often conviently benefit some same lobbyists.

Term limts, while appealing in a cheap shot kinda' way, only make matters worse in the long haul.





"Who's more foolish - the fool or the fool that follows him?" - Obi Wan Kenobi
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Re: In all seriousness, is there any reason for lobbyists?
Posted by: Pops
Date: January 15, 2006 11:52AM
Jimmypoo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you were a congressional staffer for a candidate who lost - how else would you earn a
> living? (assuming you weren't female)

Does gender really matter? Oh yeah..... with a guy lobbiest, it's more likely that the public gets ..... er, you know.


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