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View Diary: Brainstorm Session: How can Lobbying Activity be Taxed? (61 comments)

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  •  I'm asking for (2+ / 0-)

    "legal ways" to make this work.

    What are the "taxable events" in the corporate lobbyist chain of influence?


    I have no problem with actual people "lobbying" our reps.

    Big problems when corporately-funded people do it.


    Mainly because Corporations Don't Vote.

    •  Corporations are associations of people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, valion, erush1345

      And since the Constitution was written, associations of people have been able to exercise First Amendment rights collectively.  Since the inception of the constitution, groups of people have been able to pool resources to exercise free speech rights.

      So, if a group forms a club, a union, a church, an LLC, a partnership, a civic group, whatever, Congress cannot direct the tax toward the speech of that club, union, church, LLC, partnership, civic group, or whatever.  It can tax the group or association like any other group or association.  But it cannot tax either an individual, or a group or association, based on speech.  Think of it this way.  Most books are published by some kind of business entity. Do you think Congress can say, "if you publish a book on a political topic, or by someone who is running for office, like President Obama's book, we'll tax the profits from that more than if you publish a book on history or recipes or whatever"?  That would be so very, very, very unconstitutional.   It would be a clear effort to suppress political speech specifically, which government cannot, cannot do.  

      Since you are so focused on corporations, you have no problem with two very very rich guys forming a legal partnership for lobbying purposes?  What about unions lobbying?  Or LP's?  Or 501(c)(3)'s?  or churches? Are you against these?  or is it only if people use the corporate form that is problematic?  

      Many of the "hired guns" who do lobbying  are not in corporate form.

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber

        Organizations, Unions, Churches, Clubs, Partnerships, LLC, Corporations

        -- DO NOT Vote.

        (They only try to buy the Votes.)


        Associations of people don't Vote (in a block),

        Vote. (one by one).


        Let the Individuals lobby OUR reps,

        Let the rest "eat cake."

        •  take 2) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          Organizations, Unions, Churches, Clubs, Partnerships, LLC, Corporations

          -- DO NOT Vote.

          (They only try to buy the Votes.)


          Associations of people don't Vote (in a block),

          Only Individual People Vote. (one by one).


          Let the Individuals lobby OUR reps,

          Let the rest "eat cake."

          •  Wow. So you are anti-First Amendment? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnny wurster, valion, erush1345

            So an entity lik Dkos (Kos Media, LLC) can have its speech regulated by the government, as far as you are concerned?  So the government can say to the owners of this site, because Kos Media, LLC is not an individual, we can tax Kos Media, LLC $10,000 for each political diary, advocating for  or against a candidate or legislation, that appears on the website owned and operated by Kos Media, LLC?   Because Kos Media, LLC doesn't vote??

            Is that what you are REALLY advocating?? Because that is what you are saying.  What you are saying is that any entity that is not an individual -- a newspaper, a TV station, a book publisher, a website -- can have its speech regulated by the government by taxing them if they put out anything political?  

            Wow.  Just wow.  How anti-First Amendment.  

            •  I'm trying (3+ / 0-)

              to excise the cancer here.  (thought-experiment wise)

              If it takes such drastic measures,

              to be Cancer-Free, so be it.


              There once was a day when curbing Lobbyist Activity was not seen as "extreme."

              That was before the democratic system metastasized, of course.

              Before Money became equivalent to Speech.

              (ie the Cancer)


              Holy Megaphones Batman!  Just wow, wowie zowie.

              •  Sigh. Here's your problem. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jamess, valion, erush1345
                If it takes such drastic measures,

                to be Cancer-Free, so be it.

                You see a problem.  But you are willing to say, "I don't care about what else it does to destroy fundamental principles of this country, I want this problem gone."  

                But constitutional rights are not like that.  If you are willing to give up someone else's constitutional rights because you don't like them, or you don't like how they exercise those rights, then that is saying that you are willing to give up your own constitutional rights as well.  

                Nobody ever, ever said that constitutional rights always give us good results.  The Fifth Amendment sometimes means that people who are actually guilty of horrendous crimes go free.  And the First Amendment means that sometimes people we really don't like say things that we really abhor.  But that is the price we pay for our own First Amendment rights.  

                I think that's a price worth paying for my own First Amendment rights.  Apparently, from what you are saying, you do not.  

                No one is saying that all First Amendment activity is a good thing.  But the issue is that there is not a way to get rid of only that speech we don't like.  Doing so gives government the right to silence our own speech.  I'm not willing to give that up.  Apparently, you are.  And so we disagree.

                •  thanks for the thoughtful reply (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Glen The Plumber

                  I'm not ready to give up Speech, I disagree with.


                  My core problem is with the 20th century idea

                  that Money = Speech.


                  If that premise is accepted as True, then the Money side of the equation, would seem naturally to raise the notions of Money Regulations, and maybe even Money Taxes ....

                  If we ignore this Pandora's box of Unchecked Money=Speech,

                  We may one day wake up in the United States of Koch.

                  Indeed I would submit, we are already halfway there,
                  with ALEC, and the astro-turf Tea Party, and all the Red-state assaults on our basic Individual Right to Vote.

                  But I'm just a dumb hick, what do I know ...

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