Lip Service Fix to Lobbyist Gifts

The new Congress was charged by the voters with doing something to correct the corruption in government that was apparently rampant in the last Congress.  Of course most of the members of Congress are carry-overs from the last Congress, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to see that legislation to correct what amounts in some cases to legalized bribery had to be watered down some to get enough votes to pass. 

The new lobbying rules that our self-regulating Congress adopted outlawed gifts from lobbyists, with a glaring exception.  If the lobbyist and politician discuss an election campaign, then the lobbyist can pay for the meal or whatever.  As someone said on TV, so if lobbyists wants to buy lunch for members of Congress, they need to bring their checkbooks along and make campaign contributions.  Hardly a rule that blocks corruption!!!  In fact, although we tend to think that lobbyists are often guilty of legalized bribery, what I understand is more often the case is legalized extortion.  That is, it is a Congressional office that contacts a lobbyist and asks for a contribution to some activity of the their politician, such as buying a table at a campaign dinner for the politician.  . 

Although we kicked out the previous Congress’ leadership gang, voters can’t just assume that the Democratic leadership will be less self-serving.   We need to keep the pressure on them and remind them that independents can swing  back to their opponents in 2008.  

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