posted on May, 21 2013 @ 11:07 AM
The primary difference between lobbying and bribery is that lobbying is generally done through a larger organization (ie the US Chamber of Commerce or
ALEC) and bribery is done on an one-on-one basis. In the case of lobbying, there can be no direct financial benefit or gifts. If I recall
correctly, any gifts given go to the political seat and not the individual politician (ie if Obama receives a "gift", the gift becomes a part of the
White House, itself, and is left there at the end of his term). Hence why we see lobbyists throw in monies to campaign funds. A rather big to-do was
made about Sarah Palin's spending on clothes and accessories for her and her family in 2010 on the RNC's pocket book. Lobbyists and private
donations by citizens would've been the source for that but, once the campaign ended, she was to give it all back to the RNC for them to dispose of
or store as they saw fit. She was actually mollified that she may have to hand back over the nylons and undergarments that were purchased through the
RNC. Can't quite blame her for that one...
Basically, monies funneled in from lobbyists to a campaign fund are supposed to be tracked and
they are not supposed to derive any personal benefit for the individual beyond assistance in obtaining the desired political position. If they get
misused, the DOJ comes after you, as in the case of John Edwards and his possible misuse of campaign donations (ended in a mistrial but he was facing
a potential 30 year sentence and $1.5 million in fines). Overall, campaign funds and their use are sorted through with a fine-toothed comb. What
doesn't "count" are non-permanent "gifts" like a trip to a private island for the weekend or lunch on behalf of lobbyists though I'd like to see
them force the politicians and justices' to vomit up all the food they ate because, in my mind, it's still a personal benefit as it raises their
quality of life....
Bribery, in contrast, is completely untracked. It's never on the record through they try to curb it through making the politicians' finances a
matter of public record. However, that doesn't mean that politicians can't have secret bank accounts in offshore tax shelters that are not friendly
with our DOJ.
Anyways, those are supposed to be the key differences between lobbying and bribery monies. In a way, lobbying monies contributed to a candidate can
be seen like a bribe but it's a temporary bribe in which they are not supposed to have any long term benefit for it. At the end of the day though,
it still can create a substantial change in quality of life for the period in which its used so it still stinks beyond a doubt.