Friday, December 11, 2009
Good News / Bad News
The bad news is that your congressman does not represent you. Not many denizens of the right blogosphere will see this as a news flash. But I thought I’d flesh it out with some facts. OpenSecrets.org reports that in 2008 14,808 lobbyists gave 3.3 billion dollars to members of congress. Thus far in 2009 13,426 lobbyists have given 2.5 billion to members of congress. Victorian Brits used to say, “You must do the queen’s bidding if you take the queen’s pence.”
Earlier this week the New York Times ran a story about lobbyists paying for congressional travel and junkets, Here are a few relevant paragraphs:
“While lobbyists are not supposed to pay for a lawmaker’s travel, for example, Mr. Sensenbrenner’s $14,708 trip to Liechtenstein and Germany in 2009 was organized by a nonprofit group whose president is a lobbyist. It was underwritten by European companies that, in many cases, lobby in the United States.
“The rules are filled with odd contradictions. Lobbyists themselves are not allowed to pay for trips, but their corporate clients can. And lobbyists are permitted to give huge sums to nonprofit groups that can sponsor travel. They can also travel to destinations and meet the lawmakers once they get there, though they cannot go on the same plane.
“The companies finance much of this travel indirectly, getting around the spirit of the rules by giving money to nonprofits, some of which seem to exist largely to sponsor trips. In fact, the rules may have had the unexpected effect of obscuring who is actually paying for a lawmaker’s junket.
“Many of the trips are sponsored by organizations with ideological and policy agendas, rather than commercial interests. Most of those rely, at least in part, on corporate financing to underwrite trips for lawmakers.
“Don Bonker, is a Washington lobbyist, whose firm, APCO Worldwide, has served as a registered agent for the German government.
“. . . and that the trips had been approved beforehand by the House ethics staff.”
I hope my readers caught the funny part where the Times writer referred to the spirit of the law being gotten around. He’s smart enough to write for the NYT but can’t see the obvious spirit of the law that is smack in front of his face. The spirit of the law is to allow members of congress to take large value gifts from lobbyists while having a weak fig leaf of a law to try to hide behind. Basically the spirit of the law is the opposite of what the Times writer implies. But the owners and advertisers of the NYT are the pimps and prostitutes that the writer is attempting to cover for.
The good news is that, even though your congressman could not care less about your interests when legislating, if you have enough money you can own a member of congress, They are up for sale. Just come up with their price and you can own one or more. This is America and if you get lucky and somehow become a multimultimillionaire you too can participate in the miracle of cash enhanced representative government. And you can fly your very own congressman to Liechtenstein and proudly display him for your family and friends.