Keeping a Close Check

Deborah Venable



How Lobbying Can Interfere


As our government bureaucracy has grown, so has the professional field of lobbying.  If ever there was a more useless calling for an individual to pursue, I can’t figure what it would be.  A lobbyist’s only purpose in life is to influence legislation via the legislators that do the legislating.  As soon as you throw in the “professional” aspect to lobbying, (making a career out of it by getting paid for it), you have entered the arena of corruption.  Corruption happens when people allow their “special interests” to be bought and sold via the outer reaches of the congressional floor.


When I was a child, my first experience with a lobby was the lobby in my local movie theatre.  I learned right away that if you spent much time there it would cost you money because you would probably end up buying more than you needed in snacks and drinks, after which you would have to return to the lobby, from which you could access the restrooms, (waste disposal) from your overindulgence, which may even prompt you to overindulge some more and spend even more money.  Not only that, but any time spent in the lobby was time away from what was really going on in the theatre!


As an aside from all that, every time you would remove yourself from the theatre to attend the lobby, you were generally distracting to those who wished to keep their eye on the ball, err, movie, as you disturbed their concentration with your actions.


I can only imagine how distracting it would be if they actually paid people to “lobby” in a movie theatre.  Do you think it would end up effecting how the movie turned out?


Paid lobbyists are second only to overpaid legislators in the destruction of the government of a free republic.  How many aides to legislators does it take just to handle these lobbyists I wonder?  (Answer later.) 


Political action groups are almost more prolific and less effective (in a positive way) than governmental regulatory groups.  The kicker is that many of these groups are then restricted from lobbying by their own guidelines or regulations via their grant and resource rules.  Tell me, just what is their purpose?  Can it be anything but sinister to expect a group, which is receiving money from any number of dubious sources, and admonished to maintain a non-profit status, to accomplish anything positive within a burgeoning government bureaucracy?  The ones that DO lobby, (and all of them do in one form or another) generally do so for the purpose of helping a group – not individuals gain recognition and/or status within legislative bodies. 


To cut to the chase, the most powerful lobbies in the country today are those which boast the most members, collecting the highest dues, and stirring up the most disruption in the theatre of legislation, while giving individuals who might actually make a difference a reason to cop out of the whole process.  You see, it is absolutely irresponsible to think that paying dues to some PAC or lobby is the best way to keep a close check on a government that is supposed to be a representative republic looking out for individual liberty. 


I know I’ve bitten off a lot here, but this is an educational site, so bear with me.  Way back when “joining” was not a favorite national pastime, we had a republic made up of responsible individuals pursuing capitalist endeavors to grow the American Dream.  We made our own choices, took our own lumps as we learned the ropes, fought our own battles against injustice, and enjoyed more individual freedoms than any society in the history of the world.  Career politicians were not superstars.  Lobbyists were voters first and spent more time with “waste disposal” than anything else effecting legislation. 


It was only when we decided to contract out our self-governing responsibilities to paid lobbyists that our self-indulgence got expensive.  We forgot to keep a close check because we expected others to do it for us.  We took ourselves a nice little nap in that dark theatre, and only woke up long enough to go to the lobby for more self-indulgence.


We bought into that old, “there’s power in numbers” routine and forgot that the greatest power any of us have is the power of our individuality.  Our own God-given moral compass got rusty and somebody replaced it with a new-fangled device that downloads all its information from the same few powerful sources – those wonderful tracking polls that aren’t designed to keep a close check on anything but which way the wind is blowing.  And it’s always blowing for change.




From this source we find statistics from the “Office Of Integrity Commissioner.  Did you know there was such a thing as an integrity commissioner? 


Lobbying Top Spenders – Yes, this information also exists.


Revolving Door – Discover the revolving door of government influence from this neat little source.  Make sure you take a look at the other sub-titled information that exists there.


Advertising and Public Relations Services – from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics we learn specifics of this industry, all too often funded in large part with foreign money.


Interesting Little Video on the lobbying reform question.  Obama says he’s all for it.  Is it happening?  Well, I’m sure that NO lobbying is going on within the health care debate – on either side – aren’t you?


Now, this all just scratches the surface on the subject of lobbying, public relations and advertising strategies (as they may effect legislation) and the fact that while everyone agrees we need more “transparency” in government, whole industries are doing everything they can to smoke that glass. 


Leading Voice


Why did all this happen – this move to compete for government influence?  We let it happen, just as surely as we let the advertising industry take over every facet of the news and entertainment media.  We are supposed to be a free capitalist society, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what we have is anything but that.  There is nothing free in the machinery that cranks out money and influence simultaneously even as it attempts to limit freedom, prosperity, and individual responsibility by tossing that money and influence into cavernous sinkholes of corruption.


We allowed the “leading voice” in our government and society to be drowned out by the noise of self-indulgence and uselessness.  There is no way to rein in waste that we are constantly creating and sponsoring.  That leading voice needs to define us again as individuals – not just members of various groups.  If government does not serve individual interests, then it does not serve anyone.  If government is only influenced by the groups with the most money, then it does not serve anyone.  Indeed, if money is the only motivator in the government of a free society, then that society is not served. 


Why do legislators need huge staffs of people, and why do taxpayers have to pay for them?  They are merely “handlers” of we, the people.  They are the intermediaries that stand between the people the legislators should be listening to and the paid activists the legislators will listen to.  If you write a letter to your congressman or call his or her office, your communication is intercepted by and in most cases responded to by staff.  Your concerns may or may not be passed along to the legislator. 


Keeping a Close Check


The generally accepted fact is that you can judge the size of government by the number of lobbyists.  The supporting staffs of all branches of government generally equals or comes close to the number of active and registered lobbyists.  Believe me, individuals and individual interests get lost in this glut of money and influence.  The whole idea of lobbying as a good thing got started because of proximity.  The great majority of American citizens were not located in close proximity to the seat of their government, therefore, when someone came up with the bright idea of unofficial representation to represent the people to their official representatives, it seemed logical enough.  The whole term, “lobbyist” came about because of a couple of people waiting around in the lobby of a hotel to grab the attention of Lincoln as he passed by sometime during the Civil War. 


Just about anybody who is anybody in the whole government complex scene will tell you that lobbyists perform an invaluable service to the public, and we probably couldn’t begin to do without them.  Well, I, for one, would like to try.  Who knows?  It just might work.  After all, didn’t we just see a large gathering of ordinary American citizens in Washington D.C. on September 12th – there for the explicit purpose of pursuing their Constitutional right for redress of grievance?  (Look it up.  It’s the oft forgotten part of the first amendment.)  Then there are the numerous town hall meetings that took place all summer, (wherever elected legislators were brave enough to find out just what was on the minds of the people they were supposed to represent.) 


This is how you keep a close check on government.  This is how you let representatives know how they need to be representing you.  Do you think anyone in government would have the audacity to ignore you in such settings if it were not for their ability to shove their responsibility to listen to their constituents off on the middlemen personified by their staffs and lobbyists?  And how do you know what they are hearing from these people?  We already know that most of media can’t be trusted, so why do we trust the communications of our grievances to such a shadowy concept of paid influence peddlers? 


Redistributing Responsibility


If you have bothered to listen to anything Obama and those he surrounds himself with say, you will know that their ultimate stated goal is redistribution of America’s wealth.  They hate capitalism and embrace socialism.  They hate individual liberty and embrace communism.  They hate America’s heritage and culture and embrace “fundamentally transforming” America.  They speak out of both sides of their mouths whenever it suits them, but their very actions absolutely prove these accusations.  How do you respond to that?


How do you respond to the continuing attempt to indoctrinate American children to take these beliefs into their future and trample on their rightful heritage?  Are you going to continue to believe that you can effectively draw attention to legitimate grievance with paid intermediaries, or do you think perhaps that you know better than anyone else how you feel about these things, and the responsibility to effect your government is better handled by you? 


If money is truly the only thing that can control government, then we are already lost.  The redistribution of wealth should never be a goal of this government.  How about, instead, we redistribute responsibility back into the hands of the individuals that government directly affects?  I am absolutely sure that future generations of Americans would thank us for that.  I am absolutely sure that God would continue to bless this country for that.  For anything less, we should expect nothing but the worst that has ever befallen a human society that lost itself in self-indulgence and the gluttony of an overbearing government.



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