My Lobby and Me!

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By Alberto Pupo

The time has come to free our politics from Lobbyists. Year in and out, unelected individuals, cozy up to our elected representatives. They come bearing gifts and perks, they take advantage of the soft ethics of the Washington crowd to weasel themselves into our policy making. They set up tents and camps right inside the Senate office and write legislation under the veil of darkness or as we commonly call it ALEC. Why do we allow these individuals to undermine Democracy? What is the point of have a system of representative government when the elected officials are nothing more than the puppets of the highly paid lobbyists who write all the legislation? If we are to take control of our government we the people need to find a way to get the lobbyists out of it.

Roughly 12,000 Lobbyists reside in the Washington DC area. This clandestine group of individuals have one specific goal in mind to ensure that those they represent get their way. O help accomplish this goal these lobbyists are armed to the teeth with large amounts of money. They use different tactics and strategies that will make sure that they can obtain this goal. In a country that is ostensibly “in debt” there seems to be a lot of money and perks being given by these lobbyists to those who are supposed to represent the people. Supposedly in our Democratic state everyone has lobbyists but true to the power struggle in our society there is a pecking order. For example large Corporations have a larger number of lobbyists, better paid lobbyists and more influential as well. Naturally the lobbyists from the larger corporations also have the most clout in lobbying. In 2012 the Corporations that spent the most in lobbying were Blue Cross Blue Shield, General Electric and Google. Naturally the highest spender when it comes to lobby power was the Chamber of Commerce who more often than not uses its clout and sway to ensure that Corporate friendly legislation is always passed, naturally of course it comes at the cost of the people. More often than not these corporations lobby for easier tax regulation, labor regulations and less environmental penalties. These corporations use lobbyist for the purpose of passing legislation and in the case of the almighty ALEC writing legislation.

The much maligned and secretive ALEC. A source of controversy which through all 2012 was under intense scrutiny. The organization received very negative press especially when it penchant for writing legislation was exposed. ALEC is different your typical lobby group in the sense that not only do they try and purchase Members of Congress with money and perks, but this organization goes a step further. ALEC is notorious for writing legislation and then passing it on to elected representatives who merely sign their names at the bottom of model legislation. This is the ultimate insult to American democracy. When we have a group of non elected individuals writing our laws this completely undermines our process. ALEC has also been responsible for the creation of poorly crafted and terribly biased legislation. For example the infamous and flawed Stand your Ground Legislation which spread through various states is a byproduct of an ALEC rubber stamping scenario. ALEC is simply lobbying taken to a level beyond a mere attempt to influence ALEC is basically doing what we elect representatives to do and to continue to allow it to carry out its system of model legislation puts our whole system at risk.

Lobbying especially the lobby ALEC style, is something that needs to be taken out of our political system. If representative government is to continue to work properly, we the people need to have our vote mean something (as we already go through a lot simply to vote). We the people need to ensure that the deep ties between the lobbyist and our elected representatives are cut off. We the people need to ensure that our representatives work for us, and to create better public policy to create a better society. We cannot afford for our legislation to be written by individuals who we would never elect to public office. We cannot allow our legislation to be written by individuals who simply have a profit motive in mind. To improve our system of government it has become imperative that we get the lobbying out of Washington and do away with organizations like ALEC.

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