Comments about ‘Letters: Bribes and lobbying’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, March 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
ECR
Burke, VA

"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.

Impartial7
DRAPER, UT

Utah' own lax laws blur the line between bribery & lobbying.
Funny, that a people that love to tout itself as a "family values" state
seems to elect "upstanding" officials that can't tell the difference between
ethical or unethical.

Opinionated
Sandy, UT

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.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

@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.

ECR
Burke, VA

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?

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

ECR
Burke, VA

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?

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

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.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"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.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

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 candidates.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

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?

ECR
Burke, VA

"...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?

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

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.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut
I 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".

or

Are you saying that Republicans in Utah are now just as bad, evil, crooked, corrupted and wrong as Democrats in New York?

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

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.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"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.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

@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.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

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.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments