How to defang lobbyists

Chip links to a Slate article about how lobbying really works — it’s not so much outright dollars for votes, but dollars for access and influence. And making overworked staffers lives easier by writing bills for them.
The problem with the game isn’t just access, it’s the anti-access that the rest of us have. When doing some citizen lobbying at the Texas legislature, we needed to beg for copies of the bills that the lobby was negotiating and helping to write.
In Congress, bills often aren’t available until minutes before a vote. The congresscritters and their staffs don’t even have access to the bills, let alone the public. Large bills are available on paper only, locking out anyone who isn’t physically in DC.
So, it would be a significant reform to mandate that bills be posted, in full text, on the internet, with a reasonably long lead time, like a week or more, between bill posting and vote.
That would give citizens more opportunity to contact their legislator before a vote. It takes a lot of citizen contacts to outweight a few lobbyists in fancy suits, but lots of citizens can have some influence.
The big finance reform would be public finance and free media. That’s a huge step for our well-bought system. Instead, we get incremental proposals that cause money to slosh back and forth among different contribution structures, but have less affect on the economy of access.
Openness can do at least as much as more campaign finance regulation can to improve the access equation.

One thought on “How to defang lobbyists”

  1. You’re looking at the wrong lobbying.
    The effectiveness of campaign money is far less than the long term effects of systematic/fake news/entrttainment programming financed by various special intrests.
    Have you ever seen news that was in the end relevant and honest – other than selling us something? Don’t believe it? Start checking news sources yourself. Google some names, organizations. Hoover, Olin, Cato, PFNAC, Aspen, “American” Enterprise Institute, OISM, McCarther, Bradley, Kellog, HP, Sun Oil/Pew, BP, dozens of military stuff “think” tanks and tax dodge foundations .. In our “democracy” the people get lobbied first. Politicians just listen and try to please.
    Best way to end lobbying – end tax deduction for these fake charities.

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