Friday, June 25, 2010

"Across Street From the White House, Coffee and a Chat With Lobbyists" -

As a former paid lobbyist for the newspaper business, I find all of this utterly foolish and downright stupid. "Lobbyist" is a dumb term to start. We all have an interest in what our government does and some choose to take that interest in do something with it. It might mean writing a letter or it might mean joining an association to work on our behalf. That works the same way and should not be distinguished in the case of a business which also has an interest in what government does.

We should do away with the whole lobbyist thing and make all contacts with anyone in the federal government subject to mandatory disclosure. Feel free to say anything to anyone in the federal government about anything, but do it on the record. Period.

People in government should ask if the person approaching them is there on behalf of anyone else, and failure to disclose who should be subject to a fine. It could be your neighbor, your boss or your client; it doesn't matter. Disclose or pay the price, and that disclosure, too, is part of the public record.

Either everyone is a lobbyist who voices anything to the government or no one is. End the silly distinction between good people and bad lobbyists.

No comments: