In the shadows
March 3, 2014 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Where Have All the Lobbyists Gone? (SL The Nation). Daschle, a “policy adviser” to a range of corporate interests and a close confidant of many top Democrats, has become one of the most famous unregistered lobbyists in the city. In fact, his escapades as a consigliere and go-between for business leaders and politicians, including President Obama, are so well known that among ethics watchdogs, the technicality in the law that allows lobbyists to evade registration has become known as the “Daschle Loophole.”
posted by spamandkimchi (10 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the single page version.
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:22 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

It occurred to me the other day that “regulatory capture” might well apply to our elected governments, just as much as it applies to our regulatory agencies and other civil services.
posted by at 3:35 PM on March 3, 2014

Whatever else you want to say about Congress, they're (relatively speaking) a cheap date. Any time the guys across the table are making a 22000% return on investment, you're selling low.
posted by Copronymus at 7:51 PM on March 3, 2014

I'm just appalled. :-( What is there even to say? Reading about all these people making countless millions of dollars by, essentially, stealing from the people of the United States makes me wonder if there's any way to fix this system.

And as the usual sour footnote, Mr. Obama's only contribution to this has been to make it worse: "In his first month in office, Obama signed an executive order stating that registered lobbyists would not be welcome in his administration. The administration quickly backpedaled, however, issuing a number of exemptions in the following years. But the larger effect was that many lobbyists simply decertified, removing themselves from the lobbying-disclosure system and thereby pushing the influence-peddling profession more into the shadows. As Robert Gibbs, then Obama’s press secretary, explained glibly to Time magazine, when asked about reports of an Obama nominee engaging in lobbying activity: “If you’re not registered to lobby, you can’t be a lobbyist.”"

So sick of all of them. A plague on both their houses.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:09 PM on March 3, 2014

One should always remember that almost all federal politicians are filthy rich. They have nothing in common with the electorate.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on March 3, 2014

Though there have been investigations, Morgan’s office has never prosecuted anyone for failing to register or for deregistering while continuing to lobby. “We have no ability to know if somebody doesn’t register unless some insider or a competitor comes and says, ‘We have reason to believe that this individual or this group is lobbying,’” Morgan says.

This sounds like a job for crowd-sourcing. We should get a few hundred folks together, scour the DC business directories, put the word out on Twitter, interview those in the know like the author of this article, and send a few thousand names directly to this Morgan guy's office. Quick, turn on the Reddit-signal!
posted by chortly at 11:11 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

> crowd-sourcing [...] and send a few thousand names directly to this Morgan guy's office.

I know you're joking, but I'm sure people would do it in a second - except that nothing would happen. They have yet to punish even one single person for not following the rules - and yes, it makes me SO FUCKING ANGRY that the US has more prisoners than any other country and yet they can't find the resources to prosecute even one of these bloodsuckers.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:51 AM on March 4, 2014

Only half joking. As long as our sights are set appropriately modestly, a campaign that mixed sending the names to this office and the white house with one of those online petitions and the cooperation of a couple journalists like this one, might actually get a slight amount of movement here. After all, it's not like new law is needed in this case, and it's not like it depends on a feckless Congress -- this is strictly something being decided (ie, passively vetoed) by the executive, and the "we can't do anything about that" excuses don't hold. But I'm certainly not the sort of person to lead such a thing -- what we ideally need is someone who knows their way around DC and Congress and knows where the pressure points are for these things. Ironically, that is, a lobbyist.
posted by chortly at 11:26 AM on March 4, 2014

The core problem with trying to attack lobbying is that lobbying is a Constitutionally protected activity, in two ways (freedom of association, freedom of petition). This is why the laws are so toothless in this area - that is a very high bar to get over.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:30 AM on March 4, 2014

Zach Wamp... boasted that he is now working for Palantir, the controversial intelligence contractor.

They're not even trying to hide it anymore, are they?
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:48 PM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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