Published: Thursday, March 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
"We, like Jeremy, do not see the difference between bribes and
lobbying."This, unfortunately, is the feeling of many peop0le
across the nation who have never met a lobbyist, at least not a real lobbyist,
and form their opinion based on newspaper articles and talk show discussions.I live and work in the Washongton DC metropolitan area and I know
several lobbyists. I go to church with a few of them. The ones I know are hard
working people who simply represent their clients in the Washington political
arena. The clients are back home working their business or organization and
they need someone to represent them on Capital Hill to make sure their interests
are being considered. There is no exchange of money between the lobbyist and
the congressman/senator. There is simply a process of passing information about
the lobbyists client and his/her interests.The lobbyists I know make
a good living because they do a good job of meeting their clients needs and what
seems like a reasonable fee paid by the client can result in a healthy income
when you represent 8 or 10 clients, often with the same or simlar interests.
Utah' own lax laws blur the line between bribery & lobbying.Funny, that a people that love to tout itself as a "family values"
stateseems to elect "upstanding" officials that can't tell
the difference betweenethical or unethical.
RE: ECR Sounds like the American public need to hire a few
"lobbyists" to represent our interests while we are back home working to
pay for the insatiable appetite of Washington.
@ECR - I dont' think anyone is saying Lobby'ist themselves are evil.
However they are bribing officials. I'm sure that does make a good living.
And I'm sure you see them in church every Sunday. We are not judging
the person, we are judging the act.
Opinionated - "Sounds like the American public need to hire a few
"lobbyists" to represent our interests ..."Well you
might say that the American public has "hired" a lobbyist when they
voted for their Congressman or Congresswoman. But some people have more
specific needs and agendas than the broad spectrum of the American public so
they hire a lobbyist. Oh, and did I mention that all the lobbyists I
know, the ones I go to church with, are conservatives. And somehow we remain
friends. Whoda thought?
ECR is right that some lobbyists do not engage in bribery. The letter writer
was mistaken in impliedly characterizing all lobbyists as bribers.That said, the problem with some (many?) lobbyists is that they offer favors,
contributions, post-office job offers, or other benefits or perks to persuade
lawmakers to favor their clients' interests, instead of relying solely on
the merits of their clients' positions. That is where the problem lies.
Midvaliean - " I dont' think anyone is saying Lobby'ist themselves
are evil. However they are bribing officials."When you use the
collective "they" you seem to be saying that all of them do that and I
am here to tell you that the majority don't do that. Thier clients
can't afford it. The lobbyist develops a relationship with the member of
Congress to influence them though persuasion, somtimes through long
suffering."We are not judging the person, we are judging the
act." How do you separate the two?
Lobbying is not the issue here; it's about a state law enforcement officer
(Swallow) trying to help an indicted person avoid prosecution. Secretly. In a
doughnut shop. Krispy Kreme is Utah's Watergate.
"We, like Jeremy, do not see the difference between bribes and
lobbying."Sure we do. That's an easy one.When
OUR side gets bought, that is lobbying.When the OTHER side gets
bought, that is bribery.
If all lobbyists did was talk to legislators, that's one thing. But they
often represent individuals or businesses who have donate huge amounts of money
to their campaigns. That's bribery, no matter how you look at. I have
heard politicians say they are not influenced by the money donated to them.
Really? Does it never pass their mind that if they vote for certain bills that
they'll lose support of certain big donors?Are the big donors
so stupid as to pay big money if they didn't think it would buy influence?
I guess it's technically possible. Perhaps donors just help certain
candidates because they agree with them. But some donors donate to opposing
candidates from both parties. Why?If not buying actual voting
decisions, donors at least buy access. That's obvious at all the campaign
functions where larger donors are openly promised closer contact with the
I think most people here don't have a clue about the difference between
lobbying and bribery.Lobbyists or lobbying cannot give money or
gifts to a politician that is currently in office. That is a bribe. Lobbying
is merely the act of somebody speaking with an elected official, usually a paid
representative, to ensure that the person or groups point of view is presented
for consideration.Bribery is paying a politician for favors. For
example, for a $500,000 to the DNC you can get access to visit Obama. Is that
bribery? Another thing to look at was pointed out in the NY Times article
"Study Puts ‘Cost’ to Landing Embassy Post" "those who
have raised less than a million dollars are for the most part unlikely to be
considered." Should that be considered bribery, or is that just political
donations and unrelated political appointments?
"...those who have raised less than a million dollars are for the most part
unlikely to be considered." So how much did Jon Huntsman have to
give the Obama campaign for his post in China?
Well Redshirt. What would you call this. (and to be clear, it happens on both
sides) Is this Lobbying or Bribery?On Boehner handing out checks
for a Tobacco Company on the house floor.Boehner: Mine asked me to
give out a half dozen checks quickly before we got to the end of the month and I
complied. I did it on the House floor which I regret and I should not have done,
it's not a violation of the House rules, but it's a practice
that's gone on here for a long time.Were the checks from
tobacco companies?Boehner: Ahh, I think if my memory serves me
correctly, I think it was a tobacco company, yes.
Redshirt1701Deep Space 9, UtI think most people here don't have
a clue about the difference between lobbying and bribery.12:23 p.m.
March 7, 2013=========== So let me get this straight
RedShirt...Are you saying that Lobbying in New York for the DNC is
absolutely a bribery, But Republicans doing the same thing in Utah it is
still clearly just "lobbying".orAre you saying
that Republicans in Utah are now just as bad, evil, crooked, corrupted and wrong
as Democrats in New York?
To "Open Minded Mormon" thanks for proving my point. Go back and read
what I said. Lobbying is lobbying, it doesn't matter who does it or where.
With lobbying no money passes between the lobbyist and the politician.Bribery is using money to get political favors.As
"JoeBlow" insinuates, it is possible that handing out campaign checks
before a critical vote could be considered bribery. While they are technically
not bribery, it sure does not look good.You can make your own
judgements on what constitutes a bribe and what is a campaign contribution to
support a canidate. I can already tell that anything I say you will either not
understand or will try to twist into whatever you want.
"As "JoeBlow" insinuates, it is possible that handing out campaign
checks before a critical vote could be considered bribery. While they are
technically not bribery, it sure does not look good."What does
it take to be technically "bribery" in your book Red?Do
corporations have to say "I will give you this money in return for favorable
vote?"Next time you get pulled over for speeding, wrap a $100
around your drivers license before handing it to the cop. I can assure you THAT
is illegal.The problem with our politicians is that what is clearly
WRONG is not "technically" illegal. Why isnt it? Because those folks
get to make the rules that they live by.
@ECR We judge the act and not the person, the same way we the LDS church judges
homosexuality but not homosexuals. Works in a lot of situations. Lets not
be silly here, lobbyist's that we are talking about have money to throw
around. If you are not one of "those" then you are small beans. But
dinners and drinks are bribes too.
Reciprocity. If someone gives you a gift (campaign contribution); you feel
obligated to reciprocate. It works with the smallest of gifts too, that's
why the dealer offers you a beverage while you're in their showroom.The people/organizations who hire the lobbyists do contribute to
campaigns whether or not the lobbyists do. Politicians who take money from them
are going to feel obligated.
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