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Thread: Law to Curb Lobbying Sends It Underground

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    Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    ... we'll just call ourselves something else.


    Law to Curb Lobbying Sends It Underground


    In light of strict new regulations imposed by Congress over the last two years, Ms. Miller joined a wave of policy advocates who are choosing not to declare themselves as lobbyists.

    The falloff began shortly after Congress passed a sweeping ethics and lobbying law that imposed on registered lobbyists both heavier reporting requirements and potential criminal penalties. The law required lobbyists to report four times a year instead of two, and to detail any campaign contributions and certain meetings with public officials. The law also made it a crime for registered lobbyists to provide gifts or meals to lawmakers or their aides.

    So, lobbyists are now "policy advocates" who aren't subject to the new regulations.
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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    as long as no money, gifts, or favors change hands, they can call themselves garfield for all I care.

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    Law to Curb Lobbying Sends It Underground

    Law to Curb Lobbying Sends It Underground - NYTimes.com

    Ellen Miller, co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation, has spent years arguing for rules to force more disclosure of how lobbyists and private interests shape public policy. Until recently, she herself registered as a lobbyist, too, publicly reporting her role in the group’s advocacy of even more reporting. Not anymore.

    In light of strict new regulations imposed by Congress over the last two years, Ms. Miller joined a wave of policy advocates who are choosing not to declare themselves as lobbyists. “I have never spent much time on Capitol Hill,” Ms. Miller said, explaining that she only supervises those who press lawmakers directly. “I am not lobbying, so why fill out the forms?”

    Her frankness makes Ms. Miller a standout among hundreds of others who are making the same decision. Though Washington’s influence business is by all accounts booming, a growing number of its practitioners are taking a similar course to avoid the spotlight of public disclosure. “All the increasing restrictions on lobbyists are a disincentive to be a lobbyist, and those who think they can deregister are eagerly doing so,” said Jan Baran, a veteran political lawyer who has been fielding questions from clients hoping to escape registration. “It is creating some apparent contradictions.”
    This highlights the flaws inherent in a system that relies on regulations to limit what is in essence speech. Much like we see in the case of campaign contributions and commercials, increased regulations only result in an increase in the number of people operating outside of the rules.

    Another problem with this whole system is that it creates perverse incentives:

    Before the new rules, the number of advocates who registered as lobbyists appeared to have grown steadily, peaking in late 2007. A tally by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (another group founded by Ms. Miller) put the count at about 13,200. The number fell by nearly 2,000 by the fall of last year. The falloff began shortly after Congress passed a sweeping ethics and lobbying law that imposed on registered lobbyists both heavier reporting requirements and potential criminal penalties. The law required lobbyists to report four times a year instead of two, and to detail any campaign contributions and certain meetings with public officials. The law also made it a crime for registered lobbyists to provide gifts or meals to lawmakers or their aides.
    Although the amount of lobbying has not decreased in the slightest, the Congressmen who passed these "reforms" can now claim that they decreased the number of lobbyists. Similarly, proponents of campaign finance reform claim that they limited the influence of big money in elections, despite the fact that they simply moved it around.
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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    as long as no money, gifts, or favors change hands, they can call themselves garfield for all I care.
    That's the point: money, gifts, and favors do change hands. Regulating the lobbyists was supposed to have at least slowed down the exchange.
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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    Well redefinition of the same thing into a fake "other" thing is what the 2009 election was all about. It continues to be --- Blackwater changes their name and no one's supposed to pay them any mind. ACORN does the same thing. Congress defines a "lobbyist" and they simply re-invent themselves to not apply to the law... why not? It's what our President has been doing in his first year --- call it "progress" long enough - redefine the criteria of progress, and all is well. Victory can be claimed at a whim.
    “I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute.” - Chuck Schumer (D). Yet, Madison and Mason wrote the Bill of Rights, according to Sheila Jackson Lee, 400 years ago. Yup, it's a fact.


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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    Well redefinition of the same thing into a fake "other" thing is what the 2009 election was all about. It continues to be --- Blackwater changes their name and no one's supposed to pay them any mind. ACORN does the same thing. Congress defines a "lobbyist" and they simply re-invent themselves to not apply to the law... why not? It's what our President has been doing in his first year --- call it "progress" long enough - redefine the criteria of progress, and all is well. Victory can be claimed at a whim.
    Actually, changing the name of something to make it appear to be something else is a long cherished tradition of politicians on both sides of the aisle. There are many examples I can think of, and I'm sure you can too.
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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    I'd rather see lobbyists or whatever they want to call themselves entirely eliminated. Not one red cent is allowed to be passed in any way, shape or form to politicians, period. No dinners, presents, tickets, not anything of any kind whatsoever. If you want to ask for help with your problem, fine. If you want to buy influence, forget it.
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    Re: Law to Curb Lobbying Sends It Underground

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    This highlights the flaws inherent in a system that relies on regulations to limit what is in essence speech. Much like we see in the case of campaign contributions and commercials, increased regulations only result in an increase in the number of people operating outside of the rules.
    Exactly right!

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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Actually, changing the name of something to make it appear to be something else is a long cherished tradition of politicians on both sides of the aisle. There are many examples I can think of, and I'm sure you can too.
    Oh absolutely. I'm just using this current President because well, he's really good at it and he's the current President.
    “I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute.” - Chuck Schumer (D). Yet, Madison and Mason wrote the Bill of Rights, according to Sheila Jackson Lee, 400 years ago. Yup, it's a fact.


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    Re: Regulate us lobbyists? No problem....

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    as long as no money, gifts, or favors change hands, they can call themselves garfield for all I care.
    Without money, gifts, and favors what would our government have left?
    Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.

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