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Lobbyists: How We Run Washington

LOBBYISTS How We Run Washington I hear all this talk about lobbying and lobbyists... what is all that? Lobbying is a fundamental part of our political process. It's when an organization hires someone else to speak to and persuade a politican on their behalf. Organization Lobbyist Polițician If you have occasional conversations with a politician, many states require you to register as a lobbyist -- especially if you've earned money in the process. Well, why don't organizations talk to politicians themselves? Because most organizations do not know the ins and outs of how legislation is made. It's a messy process and it requires someone in Washington. That's why there are 13,000 of us here. We know how to get legislation done. But why would a politician even listen to a lobbyist? Obviously, they have an agenda. Legislation Because lobbyists are experts on the issues. Politicians are good at getting elected, they have few other skills. Yet, they have to vote on bills about oil reserves in the continental shelf. They need experts. The Oil lobby has tons of experts on hand. Wait, so if lobbyists are experts on how legislation is done, and experts on the issues, why don't they just write the laws themselves? Issues They do! But we need Congress Critters to press the "vote" button It's a beautiful system. Here is how lobbying gets done in Washington. Let's say the pharmaceuti- cal industry has a plan to rewrite some old laws to ensure massive profits by driving up the cost of medication for old people. Whoa, no Congress Critter would go for that. It would be career suicide. No kidding! But we lobbyists don't phrase it like that. We have research and facts about why this plan will work. Remember, Congress Critters don't know anything about pharmaceuticals. Why would they? They need experts. We will even write the bill, since we are the experts. If any of those congressio- nal staffers insist on writing the bill themselves, we will offer them a well-paying job when they get tired of this government work. Then we own them. It helps to make it over 1,000 pages long. Who has time to read that? We will also make portions incomprehensible. See this right here, "Public law 100-89 is amended by striking section 207 (101 stat. 668, 672)." That just approved a casino. Who knew?! Just in case a Congress Critter feels ambitious enough to read the bill, we will present the bill a few hours before the vote. OK, hold up. Those are some sneaky tactics. But why would a Congress Critter let all this happen? Because we pay them money. That just sounds like bribery. Bribery is illegal. When it's done by a lobbyist, it's called lobbying. Illegal Protected by free speech! Surely there are rules against this sort of thing? Illegal Lobbying Of course. Always play by the rules. You can't just take a Con- gress Critter to lunch, unless you are both standing up, then it's OK. And you can't buy them dinner, unless it's called a fund- raiser. I can't donate to a fund- raiser, but my wife can, and my clients can. These rules are in place so Congress Critters aren't tempted by bribery. That's just ridiculous. Who wrote those laws? Um.. lobbyists! Who else. We are the experts. Yep. Yep. Anyone who can afford a lobbyist can hire one. Anti-Pharma groups have a lobbyist too. His name is Dwayne, he drives a Subaru. The pharmaceutical industry has 2 lobbyists for every member of Congress. But isn't there a lobbyist for the other side of the issues? Pharmaceutical Lobbyists Members of Congress Dwayne Holy cow, that must cost a fortune! Eh, about $244 million. But it's a drop in the bucket compared to the windfall of favorable legislation. Lobbying is the best investment a large organization can make. Well, what about tall these Congress Critters, are they all just corrupt? Fundraising Of course not, corruption is illegal. A politician's job is to get reelected, which is insanely expensive. It can only be done by taking money from people with deep pockets and expectations But we make it easy on the politicians with the aforementioned facts and reports. Ilt's all justified as "the way things are" for the Congress Critters. It's great for them because they take money from both sides of the issue. Legislation Wow. So what ever happened to that Pharma bill? It passed, of course. But it wasn't easy and took a lot of lobbying. We called a roll call at 3 a.m., so the cameras were turned off. Then allowed 15 minutes to vote. The vote wasn't going our way, so we extended it while we twisted some arms and threatened the weaker Congress Critters. Once we had enough votes for it to pass, we closed the vote, around6 a.m. This system is messed up. What can be done to fix it? Well, first you have to take the loose money out of politics by outlawing donations by for-profit corporations and lobbyists. Then you have to publicly fund elections, so the Congress Critters don't have a need to pander to big money. You also have to forbid politicians from taking İobbyist jobs immediately after leaving office. It will also help if you bring more transparency to the process and publicly shame the politicians who are most subservient to their corporate overlords. Wait... why are telling me all this? Because any campaign finance reform will have to go through Congress and they will have to vote against their well established self-interests. And if there is one thing lobbyists can unite against, it's anti-lobbying efforts. Trust us, we're the experts. visual.ly Sources: How Lobbies Rule America, 60 Minutes Jack Abramoff: The Lobbyist' Play Book, 60 Minutes

Lobbyists: How We Run Washington

shared by visually on Mar 05
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Lobbying is a fundamental part of the political process: one where organizations pay experts to pay politicians to pass laws. But that's not at all corruption. Read on to find out how lobbying words.

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