Tag Archives | Lobbyists
In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof describes what he terms the “cancer lobby” — how major industry spends millions of dollars to influence Congress in support of carcinogenic chemicals:
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Who knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington? Just consider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes. According to government scientists, it causes cancer.
The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus — because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia.
The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer.
From the sickening department at Techdirt:
Reinforcing the fact that Chris Dodd really does not get what’s happening, and showing just how disgustingly corrupt the MPAA relationship is with politicians, Chris Dodd went on Fox News to explicitly threaten politicians who accept MPAA campaign donations that they’d better pass Hollywood’s favorite legislation … or else:
“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”
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This certainly follows what many people assumed was happening, and fits with the anonymous comments from studio execs that they will stop contributing to Obama, but to be so blatant about this kind of corruption and money-for-laws politics in the face of an extremely angry public is a really, really, really tone deaf response from Dodd.
This opinion piece from Joe Scarborough in the Politico is worth a read:
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One of the most famous scenes in movie history comes from “Casablanca,” when a corrupt official shuts down Humphrey Bogart’s cafe. Bogart asks the French captain — who also happens to be a gambling aficionado — why he’s closing the joint down. His response is a classic.
“I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.”
Political commentators have referred to Capt. Renault’s uproarious line for years when calling out hypocritical politicians. But few political narratives ever fit that scene as tightly as President Barack Obama’s bipolar approach to Wall Street. To fully understand the extent of Obama’s double-speak, it helps to let the “Casablanca” scene play out a bit, because after the corrupt captain makes his self-righteous declaration, a croupier hands him cash and says, “Your winnings, sir.”
Capt. Renault quietly thanks the croupier and then quickly returns to the role of reformer by shouting, “Everybody out at once!” Like that old movie character, Obama seems capable of effortlessly floating between demonizing Wall Street gambling one day and profiting from it the next.
Seth Cline writes on Open Secrets:
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Nearly lost in the troves of campaign finance data recently released by presidential candidates was an updated list of bundlers for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. These 359 well-connected supporters have raised at least $56 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee so far this year, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama’s campaign, the sole presidential campaign to disclose information about its bundlers, only gives broad ranges for the amounts these elite fund-raisers have raised, so the exact amount they’ve raised is unknown.
But because the campaign releases a figure for the minimum amount bundled, it’s safe to say that bundlers constitute a sizable portion of the fund-raising for Obama and the DNC.
In fact, more than $1 of every $3 donated to Obama and the DNC so far this year has come from bundlers, according to the Center’s research.
OpenSecrets has a wealth of information concerning private lobbying of federal and state government in the United States. However, it may be best to begin by looking at where the lobbying money is coming from. The FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) sector leads the field in terms of lobbying funds spent from 1998-2011. Also notable is how far down the list the Republican bogeyman of “Big Labor” is:
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Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of politics. Our politicians won’t do this. But we will. We will become an unrelenting, organized wave advocating a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.
As the petition grows, we can use on The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC as a platform to force this issue to the center of the 2012 elections. From our former Washington lobbyist, Jimmy Williams, here is a DRAFT of our constitutional amendment:
“No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S.
As The Dog Days Of Summer Approach, Politicians Rest Before Returning To The Fray
Now that the debt drama is over for the moment, we can all safely retreat in what was once called the “Dog Days Of Summer” and chill out if the volatile weather allows us to. We can think back to that old song, “Summer time and the living is easy.” Even as we all know that for millions “the living” is anything but.
The House and Senate have become ghost-like chambers because all its members, so filled with strident indignation and inflexible talking points just a week ago, are now off on their paid vacations hyping their political war stories to grandchildren.
Imbued with a sense of triumph, the Tea Party is huddling to come up with ongoing tactics to hold the system hostage while the party leaders plan the new “super committee” with 12 chosen acolytes (how Biblical, that number 12!) to map the next round of fiscal blood-lettering.… Read the rest