LOBBYISTS REJECT RESTRICTIONS

Both political parties, squirming under the spreading scandals of supersleaze lobbyist Jack Abramoff, suddenly began posing as reformers, saying it's time to reign in the corporate influence peddlers who haunt our nation's capital. The lobbyists hunkered down like cows in a hailstorm as the leaders of the two parties piously demanded that lobbyist-paid dinners, foreign golf junkets, and other freebies for lawmakers be banned.

Both political parties, squirming under the spreading scandals of supersleaze lobbyist Jack Abramoff, suddenly began posing as reformers, saying it’s time to reign in the corporate influence peddlers who haunt our nation’s capital. The lobbyists hunkered down like cows in a hailstorm as the leaders of the two parties piously demanded that lobbyist-paid dinners, foreign golf junkets, and other freebies for lawmakers be banned.

But now, as the media spotlight cools, lobbyists are aggressively pushing back against any true reforms. Their tactic is to claim – believe it or not – that they are invaluable to the democratic process! John Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan who now heads the National Association of Manufacturers, asserts that his lobbying front for major corporate powers must not be restricted in its efforts “to educate and inform our elected leaders.” John insists that the ongoing trips that the NAM finances for congress critters and top congressional staffers gives them “a very valuable first-hand education” about the legislation that NAM members want… or don’t want.

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Likewise, says the head of the American Society of Association Executives. “Yes, this is the lobbying group for lobbying groups!) This guy chimes in that no lobbyist-paid junket should be banned, claiming that this would deprive lawmakers of views “outside of Washington.” Hello… you’re inside Washington! Yet, he insists that paying congress critters to attend corporate conferences is an educational function in support of America’s finest democratic ideals.

Hmmmm. Democracy… lobbyists… junkets. In my mind, those words don’t go together. When our lawmakers need information on issues shouldn’t they get it on their own or from independent sources – not from paid influence peddlers?

This is Jim Hightower saying – To push for real reforms to reign in lobbyists, call Common Cause,”202) 833-1200.

Sources:

“Lobbyists Oppose Efforts To Impose New Restrictions,” The New York Times, January 26, 2006.

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