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How did lobbying Congress start? How did it take over? What

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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 04:20 PM
Original message
How did lobbying Congress start? How did it take over? What
was the purpose of this to begin with? Lobbyists = corruption, many of them anyway, I would say the majority of them. Special interest advocates they are. What purpose do they have in our system? Why have they not been removed from the process? At the very least, they should be put on a very short leash. What gives? Even if they started out as a harmless thing they mushroomed into a vile element.
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Sarah Ibarruri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. I also would like to know
If anyone has a history of lobbying, some website, or the like, please advise. I've noticed that what passed for lobbying here in the U.S., is actually bribery. I'd like to know how this came to be.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. if only it were JUST the lobbyists.
though on the face of it -- they make up the most obvious source of evil -- think about who's in the rolodex of politicians -- folks with the most money to heft at their political campaigns.

when your representative has a time to spend on the golf course, at lunch, social event, whatever -- your representative is with business heavies -- ceo's or people who sit on boards of directors, presidents of large family run businesses, whatever.

even if there were no lobbyists tomorrow -- to break that chain would really take time.

in our modern era -- roosevelt was concerned about influence, Eisenhower more so.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. Don't know when it started, but I know when it started getting evil.
When business interests got unfettered access to buy political swat. And when they managed to get Americans to stop caring about using government as a vehicle to improve life for individuals through social programs, the business interests had the full attention of our politicians -- no competition to stop them.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. What else would happen?
That's how power works. I know we have that piece of paper limiting and breaking power up, but nothing lasts forever. I know, I know, if only the citizens rise up, we can...everyone knows the rest.

"What gives? Even if they started out as a harmless thing they mushroomed into a vile element."

That's my problem with every power structure/organization. That's why empire's rise and fall, and always will. Rome didn't just appear one day as the center of an empire. It's what can happen to some people; I'm sure Hitler wasn't an evil baby.

"What purpose do they have in our system?"

They're a natural outcome of structures of power, be they government or business.
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norml Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. A History of Lobbying
snip

Lobbyists have been at work from the earliest days of the Congress. William Hull was hired by the Virginia veterans of the Continental army to lobby for additional compensation for their war services. In 1792, Hull wrote to other veterans' groups, recommending that they have their "agent or agents" cooperate with him during the next session to pass a compensation bill. In 1795, a Philadelphia newspaper described the way lobbyists waited outside Congress Hall to "give a hint to a Member, teaze or advise as may best suit."4

As early as the closing years of the eighteenth century, there were widespread suspicions that large, well-financed interests were receiving special attention from the government. During the first half century of our Republic, the most distrusted and despised special interest was the Bank of the United States, a private bank chartered by the federal government. Critics of the bank pointed out that a number of sitting senators served as its directors, a clear case of conflict of interest. James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1791, "Of all the shameful circumstances of this business, it is among the greatest to see the members of the Legislature who were most active in pushing this Job, openly grasping its emoluments."5 On December 21, 1833, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts wrote from Washington to the bank's president, Nicholas Biddle: "Since I arrived here, I have had an application to be concerned, professionally, against the Bank, which I have declined, of course, although I believe my retainer has not been renewed, or refreshed, as usual. If it be wished that my relation to the bank should be continued, it may be well to send me the usual retainer.6 That is stating it plainly, isn't it?

The perception of impropriety that the bank fostered was a contributing factor to President Andrew Jackson's decision to remove government funds and to veto attempts to extend its charter.7

In the early days, tariff legislation had the greatest impact on society as a whole and stimulated the greatest amount of lobbying. It is interesting to note, in light of the press' traditional suspicion of lobbyists, that some of Washington's first newspaper correspondents were, in certain respects, tariff lobbyists. Merchants and shippers in New England, and planters in the South, sent correspondents to the capital to serve as representatives throughout the congressional session, to keep them informed on the progress of tariff legislation, and to assist their representatives in fighting for their interests. This arrangement is not surprising when we consider that a critical aspect of lobbying has been to supply information, both to members of Congress and to those interested in stopping or promoting a bill.8

snip

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/briefing/Byrd_...
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serryjw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
6. It is worse than cancer
quote.......
fact, 43 percent of the eligible congressional members who departed government during that time have become lobbyists, while half of all eligible departing senators have become lobbyists. Nearly 250 former members of Congress and federal agency chiefs have become lobbyists since 1998, while more than 2,200 former federal employees have registered as federal lobbyists.
end quote.......
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/11/lobby.america /
quote........
The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy
end quote......
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
A nice stat that Americans don't know about
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Sarah Ibarruri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thank you for the explanations. I have another question on lobbying.
What allows this form of bribery? What makes it legal? Are there federal laws that actually permit this form of bribery in the U.S.?
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Good question. What laws make this legal? n.t
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. Is there a list of all the lobbyists? One complete list? nm
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