Members of Congress stalking lobbyists

| April 19, 2012 | 7 Replies

From NPR:

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn’t always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

Lawmakers of both parties need to raise millions of dollars per election cycle. So lobbyists get calls from lawmakers and their staffs all the time, inviting them to fundraisers, according to Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist for the real estate industry.

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Category: Corporatocracy, Corruption

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (7)

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  1. Jim Razinha says:

    I listened in on a talk last night that was for artists and one point the speaker made was it takes work to get out there and make things happen. To make the point, he recounted a conversation he had with a now retired Congressman, who said that to get elected every two years, he had to spend four to six hours every day making calls (this on top of his day job) in order to raise an average of $15,000 per day. Look how much has been spent so far just to elect one person to one office. 535 run the cycle every two years. It’s no wonder they don’t want to tax citizens…uh, I mean corporations…why let the government you run get all that cash that you can use?

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Jim: I believe that members of Congress spend at least six hours a day gathering money while making promises, and it likely affects everything else they do too. The system itself is corrupt, meaning that even good-hearted and well intentioned people rot once they get to Congress. Thus, we need to change the system. But what can a citizen do when no elected official is interested in putting energy into this project of fixing the system?

  2. Jim Razinha says:

    Mistyped…I meant 435 every two years…

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    There is a hackish term that perfectly describes the current American political system: BBD (broken by design).

  4. Brynn Jacobs says:

    NPR had a few stories on the topic of campaign finance lately as well. One pointed out that $3 tax checkoff one may opt to make on one’s taxes will go unclaimed from this point on. The total a candidate may expect to receive by thus opting for public financing of their campaign totals some $90 million dollars. But when a candidate must raise some $745 million dollars to run a winning race, as Barack Obama did in 2008, $90 million just won’t cut it.

  5. Adam Herman says:

    Well, the time spent fundraising is in part a consequence of campaign finance reform. Back in the old days, as in before 1974, a congressman would just have one or two sponsors that would write them a blank check. Then donation limits came as a consequence of Watergate and so Congressmen needed thousands of donors instead of just a few. Naturally, they started to bitch about this system, but they can’t just say they liked the old one better, even though they did.

    From a Congressman’s perspective, having Sheldon Adelson or the Kochs write you a check is optimal, public financing is the next best thing. What they have now, where they have to solicit thousands of small donations, they hate that. But that’s no reason for us to give them what they want. It actually amazes me how well-meaning reformers take their talking points from political figures who are part of the corrupt system. they have very self-interested motives for supporting campaign finance reform.

  6. Tim Hogan says:

    Brynn, for the first time ever, I joined my wife in NOT doing the $3 check-off for the Presidential campaign. I know Obama won’t use the federal money, so I skipped the check-off in the off chance Romney might opt for the federal money and rely on the SuperPACS to make up the difference with Obama.

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