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Here’s my wise adage for the day: Never mistake motion for progress.
For example, if your car gets stuck in mud and you gun the engine, your tires might be spinning at 60 miles an hour, but the car’s not going anywhere. The same applies to our congress critters, who’re furiously gunning their political engines and spinning their tires, claiming that – By Gollies – they’re making progress on lobbying reform.
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Stung by the still-spreading scandals of supersleaze lobbyist Jack Abramoff, leaders of both parties are trying to outdo each other on reform – no more lobbyist-paid dinners or golf trips, they cry! Prohibit lobbying by spouses of lawmakers, they holler!
But none of this will get them anywhere. That’s because they’re still stuck in the deep, slick muck of campaign contributions delivered to them by corporate lobbyists. This money is the slickum that has corrupted our political process – yet, neither party’s “reform” packages touch the muck.
Even as they’re shouting “reform,” they’re quietly taking checks from the very lobbyists they claim to be reforming. Rep. David Obey, a true reformer, cuts through this hypocrisy: “You can talk all you want about nibbling at the margins about ethics… but unless we deal with the nexus between politics and money, damned little is actually going to change.”
The good news is that real change is possible. Two other true reformers – John Tierney of Massachusetts, and Raul Grijalva of Arizona have introduced H.R. 3099, the “Clean Money/ Clean Elections” bill. Modeled on what seven states and several cities have already done, this bill provides public financing of congressional elections, eliminating the need for lawmakers to curry favor with special-interest lobbyist.
This is Jim Hightower saying… We can go through the motions of reform, or we can get in gear and make real progress. To learn how to help, call Tierney’s office:”978) 531-1669.
“Congressman Tierney: Public Financing of Campaigns Must Be Part of Congressional Reform Proposals,” www.house.gov, January 24, 2006.
“Obey, Frank Introduce Plan to Take Private Money Out of Politics Legislation Is Intended to Break Nexus of Money in Politics & Restore Public Faith in Congress,” www.house.gov, January 24, 2006.
“Some House Democrats seek election public funds,” Washington Post, January 20, 2006.
“Parties Rush to Offer Curbs For Lobbying,” The New York Times, January 18, 2006.