THE SENATE SELLS OUT TO LOBBYISTS

After the U.S. senate okayed its lobbying reform bill, Senator Chris Dodd puffed himself up and exhaled this whopper: "There's a sign now in front of the Capitol that says, 'Not for sale.'"

After the U.S. senate okayed its lobbying reform bill, Senator Chris Dodd puffed himself up and exhaled this whopper: “There’s a sign now in front of the Capitol that says, ‘Not for sale.'”

Come on, senator – maybe you can fool yourself, but you can’t fool us with that pathetic piece of junk you call “reform.” All that this bill does is to confirm that the lobbyists really do own the U. S Capitol – lock, stock, and senators. In the face of public disgust with corporate lobbyists like Jack Abramoff buying off our congress critters, the senators passed a bill that does nothing to stop the sale of legislation… or to stop the public’s disgust.

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For example, senators are patting themselves on the back for banning lobbyists from treating members to free meals and drinks at posh restaurants – a daily practice on Capitol Hill. But this ban is about as effective as a jello doorstep. As one of the senate’s real reformers, Russ Feingold, points out, the bill leaves a “huge loophole,” for it lets lobbyists wine and dine lawmakers as usual – and put the bill on the tab of the lobbyist’s corporate client, rather than their own. Sneaky, huh?

Senators shot down the true reform provisions that were proposed , including an outright ban on lobbyist-paid junkets, a halt to sneaking special funding into bills at the behest of lobbyists, and the creation of an independent “office of public integrity” to prosecute the corruption between lobbyists and lawmakers. And, of course, congress did nothing about lobbyists putting millions of dollars in campaign funds into lawmakers’ pockets.

Oh, but wait – senators did stand tall for one bold step: Members of congress will now have to take a training course in ethics!

This is Jim Hightower saying… Who’ll teach it, Jack Abramoff? Don’t let the Chris Dodds fool you – this is a bill by and for lobbyists. To organize for real lobbying reform, call Common Cause: 202-833-1200.

Sources:
“Limited ethics bill approved as lobbyist gets prison time,” USA Today, March 30, 2006.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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