Skip to main content

Washington DC and state capitals are overrun by lobbyists.  How should legislators deal with them and still work in the public interest?

There is no way to get rid of lobbyists.  In a perfect world, lobbyists could be a useful source of information for legislators.  Some lobbyists work for good causes.  But we are all too familiar with the massive amounts of money and corporate influence that is wielded by many lobbyists with a corrupting affect on legislation.  Is there anything we can do to improve matters?

My proposal is that each legislator should make a pledge to make all meetings with lobbyists public.  Allow reporters to observe, or make a recording, or whatever it takes so that lobbyists know that what they discuss with a legislator could become known by everyone.

Ideally, a lobbyist should be trying to argue that whatever cause they are promoting is in the public interest.  If the cause is not in the public interest, why should a legislator support it?   If it is in the public interest, then the lobbyist and the legislator should have no problem with the discussion being public.  The role of the lobbyist should be to provide information.

If deals or compromises need to be made, then let the legislators make them among themselves.  That is part of their job.

Of course, it is unlikely that most legislators would make such a pledge.  So somehow this needs to be made an election issue.  I want to see ads saying how a candidate will make the pledge and his opponent won't, and ask just what is the opponent doing in those secret meetings.

Lobbyists for good causes have nothing to hide.  Corrupt ones do.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site