Saturday, April 23, 2016

When Lobbying was Illegal...not that long ago

Over the past two decades, the Supreme Court has sanctioned any lobbying that is not explicit, quid pro quo bribery. 
A 1999 Supreme Court case, for example, overturned
a federal law that banned officials from receiving gifts. A farmer’s
association had given the Secretary of Agriculture sports tickets,
luggage, and free meals—all delivered by hiring the Secretary’s college
roommate as a lobbyist—and then benefited from policies made by the
Secretary. Yet the court sanctioned the act. Justice Scalia wrote that
banning all gifts would lead to “absurdities,” and he could not imagine banning an organization from organizing a free lunch for a policymaker.  
Similarly, in the Citizens United case, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority’s opinion, noted that “Ingratiation and access… are not corruption.”
logic and these conclusions, Teachout contends, are a complete break
from the reasoning of judges in 18th and 19th century America. 
100 years, judges so believed that using personal influence to
ingratiate and gain access to lawmakers led to corruption that they
refused to enforce lobbying contracts. Teachout cites
a 19th century legal textbook that stated that “what are known as
‘lobbying contracts’. . . [which are] any agreements to render services
in procuring legislative action… by personal solicitation of the
legislators or other objectionable means, is contrary to the plainest
principles of public policy, and is void.”

Read the rest at:

When Lobbying was Illegal

1 comment:

  1. I think lobbying is inevitable in the current political system. The ideal actions of congressmen would be reflective of their constituencies, the citizens not necessarily the corporates or the powerful with great fortune. There are lobbyists for corporate causes but also lobbyists for counterbalancing unfair corporate actions. I guess policies are eventually balanced out, but honestly I still think those with political and economic power have more influence on shaping the policies.