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POLITICS: Lobbyist Reform Reaches Congress

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posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 11:39 PM
The U.S. Senate approved a bill restricting relations between Congress and lobbyists. The clauses include barring meals and gifts offered by members of the Lobby. The provisions will also provide ethics training for Senators and their aides. It will also scrutinize "pet projects" worked into spending bills. Fines would penalize law-breakers if caught. The House of Representatives plan their own version of the bill without banning gifts or meals from lobbyists. Once voted upon, the Senate and House will combine all measures into one package for full congressional consent.

Reuter's Thomas Ferraro says more:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senators would be prohibited from accepting meals or gifts from lobbyists under a bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday to clean up how the U.S. Congress operates. Critics said it did not go far enough.

Prompted by the scandal surrounding disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the measure was approved on a vote of 90-8 and would also require lobbyists to be more open about their activities and increase fines for those who break the rules.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

It is good that the corruption of lobbyism is being attacked in Congress. But actions have to speak louder than words. The American people will have to see whether these measures will be enforced in Congress. If not, it will prove to be yet another act that means well, but does nothing.

[edit on 29-3-2006 by ceci2006]

[edit on 29-3-2006 by ceci2006]

[edit on 29-3-2006 by Riwka]

[edit on 30-3-2006 by ceci2006]

[edit on 30-3-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 02:26 AM
This type of proposed leglislation seems to be a near annual event but nothing of substance ever seems to change. Let's quit attacking the lobbyists and start reforming the politicians--particularly the career politicians.

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 02:40 AM
Lobbyists and politicians are both the problem. The single thing linking them is money. If you take the money out of lobbyism, you also take out the corruption and the value of such ties.

[edit on 30-3-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 03:53 AM
My mother always told me that lobbying is just a legalized form of bribery. I agree with ceci, but not just on the money factor -- I'm talking about any and all forms of 'kickbacks'.

Maybe not meals. Meals are fine, I think. If the intention is just to treat the person to a good meal. Something not too expensive and extravagant.

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 08:26 PM
Can I play Devil's Advocate here?

Let's say we remove the money---and corruption---from politics. Which sounds like it would be good.
What would you put in its place? How would things get done without money changing hands?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say there has been graft and corruption in this world as long as there has been politics and government.

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 08:30 PM
Beachcoma, thanks for agreeing with me. I also concur with you as well. I know that "kickbacks" can take many shapes or forms, but it gets a little iffy when it comes down to meals. Maybe a reasonable solution is to take the "meal" part on a case by case basis? I think there's a difference between a lobbyist buying a politician a meal at McDonald's and lobbyist hosting a banquet to raise money for a certain cause.

But I still hold firm on the money part. What especially bothers me about the story is the "Pet projects" that Senators sneak into a bill. That isn't fair because they aren't signing the bill for the people's business. They are doing the lobbyist's business. And herein lies the rub.

Money is the singlemost corrupting influence inside of Congress. It places the needs of certain companies and associations above of the will of the people. And if fines are imposed against these "kickbacks", they better be stiff.

Better yet, I would much rather like to see jail time. The politicians and lobbyists afflicted should not do time in a "country club" prison. Oh no. I would like them placed in Angola State Prison, Rykers, San Quentin or Sing Sing--of the like. Then, that would teach them a lesson.

Don't tread on Me, that is a great question. I also believe it is true that graft and corruption has been a part of the world for time and eternity. But what to put in its place? I don't really know right off the bat, but maybe I can give an example of why money is such an important problem in lobbyism.

The main problem about Congress is that the influence of money is overriding the act of doing "the people's business". The most simple answer would be that without the money, there would be a focus not so much on corporate influences. That is the main problem. Suppose there are lobbyists from Halliburton pushing for a certain defense bill that would generate more money for them under the table as a "pet project". Yet, that very same bill cuts spending on Veteran's services in order to balance the budget. The bill is passed. Halliburton wins. And the Veteran Administration loses because there isn't enough money to adequately treat the veterans.

To me, that's why greed and the money behind it is the great seducer in Congress.

As an answer, maybe the politicians will return to passing bills that benefit their constituents and not the lobbyists. But that's me being idealistic.

[edit on 30-3-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 05:56 AM
Stop it you are killing me...this is so funny it isn't funny...the corrupt buggers (and that is not to say anything bad about buggers
) are going to clean up their act
yeah right!

whats your hand doing in the cookie jar?
I'm protecting them form anybody who might wanna take em.

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 10:54 AM
Yeah... lets stop those $300 dollar lunches...

but go ahead and keep letting them take huge bribes off the record... or have vacation time shares given, or have huge purchases made at inflated prices from the politicians company...

geeezzz. if this is the best oversight our government can do on itself, then IMO they shouldn't have that right...

make a citizen union, that watches their butts 24/7... and issues full reports to media...

when light is shined on the various ways influence is peddled, the cockroaches will flee or be crushed...

IMO this isn't even looking to be a good start...
hell, give back their meals (it is one of the few methods of influence that Joe American could afford anyway)

maybe make it as strict as the IRS...
if a politician is caught... he loses everything... since there would be no proof, that it all wasn't gained illegally (same thing they do to drug dealers, or tax cheats)

Sock it to them, and put the fear of the constituents in them... for gosh sake.

BTW: vote for me in 08

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 05:56 PM
Should an independent committee be asked to root out the abuses regarding Lobbyism? Because if this is a "good faith" measure, Congress seems like it is just tapping their own wrists and moving on.

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