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Author Topic: Why isn't lobbying illegal?  (Read 1388 times)
xboxfan
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May 02, 2014, 08:32:07 PM
 #1

I am not an American citizen and I can hardly say that I understand all the fine details within the American politic system. Now, I grew up in Germany, and I'm not saying Germany is perfect; however to my knowledge bribery is not directly legal there.. however it seems that bribery is very deeply implemented in the American politic system.. am I getting that right?
A few questions in that direction:
1) What is the difference between lobbying and bribing?
2) Does one need something like a "lobbying license" or something like that do lobby?
3) The Money which lobbyists give to officials, is that documented somewhere or is it actually "under the table" without any official knowledge of it?
4) Why, even though everybody knows how lobbying affects American politics, does never anybody speak out against it? Why are there no major protests against lobbying?
In short: Why isn't lobbying illegal?
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May 02, 2014, 08:44:49 PM
 #2

I am not an American citizen and I can hardly say that I understand all the fine details within the American politic system. Now, I grew up in Germany, and I'm not saying Germany is perfect; however to my knowledge bribery is not directly legal there.. however it seems that bribery is very deeply implemented in the American politic system.. am I getting that right?
A few questions in that direction:
1) What is the difference between lobbying and bribing?
2) Does one need something like a "lobbying license" or something like that do lobby?
3) The Money which lobbyists give to officials, is that documented somewhere or is it actually "under the table" without any official knowledge of it?
4) Why, even though everybody knows how lobbying affects American politics, does never anybody speak out against it? Why are there no major protests against lobbying?
In short: Why isn't lobbying illegal?

I'm no expert but my understanding is...

1. Lobbying is persuading. You are not really allowed to give money. It is not always clear though. What if they take you on a golfing vacation to talk?

2. Yes, you must be a registered lobbyist. I think at the state and federal level.

3. They should not be giving any money. That is a bribe. They are also audited.

4. It's not the lobbying that is as bad as campaign donations. They have become very corrupt recently. Pure lobbying is just a profession. You pay some expert to meet with politicians and try to convince them of your position. But that lobbyist is not supposed to just pass money to the politician. That is illegal.   

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May 02, 2014, 09:03:55 PM
 #3

supreme court has already decided that money = free speech. it's why the US presidential election cycle lasts 1 year (primaries + main election), and as a candidate you have to start at least 2 years before the election day.
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May 03, 2014, 07:16:00 AM
 #4

It's legal because they want your money. They powers that be are not going to stop something that benefits them greatly. Something needs to be done about it though.

I am not an American citizen and I can hardly say that I understand all the fine details within the American politic system. Now, I grew up in Germany, and I'm not saying Germany is perfect; however to my knowledge bribery is not directly legal there.. however it seems that bribery is very deeply implemented in the American politic system.. am I getting that right?
A few questions in that direction:
1) What is the difference between lobbying and bribing?
I'm no expert but my understanding is...

1. Lobbying is persuading. You are not really allowed to give money. It is not always clear though. What if they take you on a golfing vacation to talk?

One person says 'persuading' another says it's 'bribing'. I say the latter. It is pretty much just legalised bribing. The companies or people that donate want their money back in favours or whatnot at some point.

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May 03, 2014, 10:37:48 AM
 #5

The laws are written by the people who get the money from bribes.

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May 03, 2014, 09:54:42 PM
 #6

The laws are written by the people who get the money from bribes.

This is exactly it. It's the same reason why loopholes exist and are very rarely closed. They're there so their buddies can exploit them. It's the general taxpayers that foot the bill whilst the rich reap the rewards and avoid paying taxes. Lobbying should be illegal but it wont be made so anytime soon.

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May 04, 2014, 03:34:40 AM
 #7

It would be very difficult to outlaw lobbying completely without raising serious free-speech issues. That is not to say it is not a troublesome practice.

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May 04, 2014, 07:49:44 AM
 #8

It would be very difficult to outlaw lobbying completely without raising serious free-speech issues. That is not to say it is not a troublesome practice.

What free speech issues arise? Why is bribery not allowed under free speech? It's just calling something under a different name and legalising it. I think big money probably needs to be taken out of politics because all it will inevitably cause is corruption and gives others an unfair advantage.

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May 04, 2014, 04:32:49 PM
 #9

It would be very difficult to outlaw lobbying completely without raising serious free-speech issues. That is not to say it is not a troublesome practice.

What free speech issues arise? Why is bribery not allowed under free speech? I

Ah, but what is bribery? Explicitly saying "I will pay you $whatever if you will vote for X" certainly is, and that is illegal. But what about the wink, the nod, the agreement to hear someone talk, the big campaign donation, the implicit assumption of some form of quid pro quo even if neither party says so aloud? This is where the problem really lies.

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May 04, 2014, 05:32:19 PM
 #10

to understand the difference between lobbying and bribing you just need to look these words in the dictionary and read the definition
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May 04, 2014, 05:42:18 PM
 #11

It would be very difficult to outlaw lobbying completely without raising serious free-speech issues. That is not to say it is not a troublesome practice.

What free speech issues arise? Why is bribery not allowed under free speech? I

Ah, but what is bribery? Explicitly saying "I will pay you $whatever if you will vote for X" certainly is, and that is illegal. But what about the wink, the nod, the agreement to hear someone talk, the big campaign donation, the implicit assumption of some form of quid pro quo even if neither party says so aloud? This is where the problem really lies.

But this is it, it's bribery just under a different name. There's no shady meetings in carparks with exchanges of cash. These people all do it the legal way and are not stupid enough to explicitly state what they want in return, but when they make that campaign donation they sure as hell will want their money back at a later date. It's a you scratch my back I'll scratch yours situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seDYqUFvYp0

The above video is from The Young Turks where they explain how Hilary Clinton was paid nearly half a million dollars for two short talks at Goldman Sachs. They insinuate this is essentially a bribe and if she gets in to power they'll be wanting a return on their investment.

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May 04, 2014, 05:50:58 PM
 #12

to understand the difference between lobbying and bribing you just need to look these words in the dictionary and read the definition

Except in this scenario they both essentially mean the same. Definitions are stretched so far but still within the scope of legality.

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May 05, 2014, 01:57:03 AM
 #13

They are generally astute enough to do these deals without getting caught in anything illegal. For example, in Spain it is well known that the managing boards of most IBEX 35 (Spanish stock exchange) companies are filled with former ministers and senators, receiving very juicy salaries for doing virtually nothing (as they are mostly useless people who never had a job outside of politics). This is the way these big companies say "thank you" for approving laws, grants, etc in their favor while they were in the government.

Is this acceptable? Maybe not morally, but in strict legal terms, yes.

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May 05, 2014, 03:09:57 AM
 #14

Lobbying should be illegal but it wont be made so anytime soon.

If you can lobby, you cannot make it illegal.  If you cannot lobby, there is no need for a law against it.  This is one of the more clear-cut of how law is revered as a magical solution or how law is affirmation of what is already real i.e. redundant i.e. unnecessary.

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May 05, 2014, 09:16:09 AM
 #15

They are generally astute enough to do these deals without getting caught in anything illegal. For example, in Spain it is well known that the managing boards of most IBEX 35 (Spanish stock exchange) companies are filled with former ministers and senators, receiving very juicy salaries for doing virtually nothing (as they are mostly useless people who never had a job outside of politics). This is the way these big companies say "thank you" for approving laws, grants, etc in their favor while they were in the government.

Is this acceptable? Maybe not morally, but in strict legal terms, yes.

It's often the same with most other politicians. Being the leader of a western democracy usually lasts between 4-8 years, so they need a job once they leave. Just look at the jobs of what ex Prime Ministers and Presidents do after they finish. Tony Blair got nice paychecks for 'advisory' roles at JP Morgan and some other Swiss bank or something, not to mention having a load of other shady ties and income elsewhere. They're all crooks.

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May 05, 2014, 09:19:02 AM
 #16

Lobbying is having a bunch of different interests provide money to politicians to get their idea across without it always succeeding
That money is then used to run for elections and the reward for lobbying is a cushy job with them after leaving politics
Bribing is similar but the money is pocketed
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May 05, 2014, 04:23:19 PM
 #17

It's legal because they want your money. They powers that be are not going to stop something that benefits them greatly. Something needs to be done about it though.

I am not an American citizen and I can hardly say that I understand all the fine details within the American politic system. Now, I grew up in Germany, and I'm not saying Germany is perfect; however to my knowledge bribery is not directly legal there.. however it seems that bribery is very deeply implemented in the American politic system.. am I getting that right?
A few questions in that direction:
1) What is the difference between lobbying and bribing?
I'm no expert but my understanding is...

1. Lobbying is persuading. You are not really allowed to give money. It is not always clear though. What if they take you on a golfing vacation to talk?

One person says 'persuading' another says it's 'bribing'. I say the latter. It is pretty much just legalised bribing. The companies or people that donate want their money back in favours or whatnot at some point.
I agree. I think it has gotten that way over the years. The basic idea of lobbying makes sense, but the corrupting influence of money has turned it into a "pay for access" scheme.

Those with the most money speak loudest, not those who represent the most people. For example the NRA has about 5 million members. It takes $10 from each of them to counter the money of just 1 Michale Bloomberg. This year he is spending $50million dollars to popularize the idea that the way to make NYC a safe place is to take away the rights of people in rural Montana. It's insulting to normal people that we have to listen to to this guy just because he can buy political opinions. He is after all the guy who decided that because he doesn't like to look at fat people, you shouldn't be able to buy a large soda.
 

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May 05, 2014, 04:26:17 PM
 #18

I am not an American citizen and I can hardly say that I understand all the fine details within the American politic system. Now, I grew up in Germany, and I'm not saying Germany is perfect; however to my knowledge bribery is not directly legal there.. however it seems that bribery is very deeply implemented in the American politic system.. am I getting that right?
A few questions in that direction:
1) What is the difference between lobbying and bribing?
2) Does one need something like a "lobbying license" or something like that do lobby?
3) The Money which lobbyists give to officials, is that documented somewhere or is it actually "under the table" without any official knowledge of it?
4) Why, even though everybody knows how lobbying affects American politics, does never anybody speak out against it? Why are there no major protests against lobbying?
In short: Why isn't lobbying illegal?

You know there is also lobbying in the EU right?


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May 06, 2014, 02:09:06 AM
 #19

because it benefits everybody for this to be a massively complex, grey area
Especially big business and politics

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May 06, 2014, 08:26:49 AM
 #20

Lobbying is just what the West calls bribing

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