There is very little we could do that would have a greater effect at restoring the integrity of our democracy as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people than removing the blight of paid-Lobbying. Lobbyists now effectively control Congress. And they have for a while.
Here’s how it works:
A major company wants to influence politics. Specifically, they want to have a direct hand in drafting legislation that directly benefits (or preventing that which harms) their profit margin. But campaign finance laws and anti-bribery laws prohibit them from making payments or contributions to candidates (for obvious reasons) to ‘buy’ the power of their elected office. So, they hire a Lobbying firm, in Washington DC.
That Lobbying firm then begins researching and approaching the members of Congressional Committees that would have the most influence over their new client’s industry. And then they invite those members of Congress to lunch, or dinner, or some other ‘friendly social gathering.’ Lo and behold, there are a couple dozen other very generous contributors there (that have been arranged to show up by the lobbyist), and the event suddenly becomes a campaign fundraiser, and the politician walks out with $75,000 in donations. More than most small challenger campaigns (I would know..) can hope to raise in total, in one small event. And they do so legally – technically.
The politician also knows all this beforehand, of course. Because this has become “the standard.” This has become ‘normal’ on Capitol Hill. And politicians have come to rely on this for their re-election funding, because it is extremely difficult and time-consuming to raise any significant amount of funding from small donations from their constituents (again – I know this first-hand).
All this funding comes at an obvious price: politicians are now in the ‘pocket’ of the Lobbyists that feed them funding, and are expected to draft bills and vote in Congress based on the wishes of those Lobbyists, who in turn are funded (with salaries in the millions-of-dollars for their work) by the interests of large corporations.
You ever wonder why Congress is so universally despised? Or why they seem to consistently work against the best interests of the American public? This is why. Because they’re NOT working for your best interests. They’re working for the interests of the corporations that pay them.
And they’re able to get away with this because the two major parties are complicit in this Lobbyist arrangement. It directly benefits them. So they peddle narratives that keep us all voting for the same people over and over again, which isn’t hard to do, because the Lobbyists keep them very well-funded, and that’s the faces you see the most in advertisements.
We need – we have to – pass a ban on receiving any form of payment for Lobbying, if we ever want to see this cycle stop. If you want to see Congress work for the best interests of the American people again – if you ever want to see any REAL Reforms pass Congress – you have to cut off the flow of special interest money to them. Otherwise they will continue to serve the interests of those that pay them the best.