Let’s All Go To The Lobby

The quote, “If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, screw their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.” has been attributed to California politician Jesse Marvin Unruh, Lyndon Johnson and LBJ’s mentor, Sam Rayburn. Regardless of whoever said it first, it appears that the precept has fallen by the wayside.

The nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, Center for Responsive Politics, displays a chart detailing 12,500 lobbyists when queried for the registration year 2020. If that figure is true, it means there are over 250 lobbyists for each U.S. Senator. It is no wonder the Senators always look rushed when they’re interviewed on T.V.

The non-profit non-partisan website, www.stastita.com displays a very comprehensive list of Washington lobbyists by name.

We’re fortunate enough to live in a society that “tries” to keep track of what the lobbyists are attempting to impose on us through our legislators. The website www.opensecrets.org posts a chart with the top twenty recipients of lobbyist money in 2020. Here is a look at the top ten.

Being a person of the “D” persuasion, I feel like my guys are under performing when it comes to taking money from industries that they could be called upon to regulate. I mean really, just two Democrats in the top ten?

I am not surprised to see my two former Senators in the top ten. I guess you become a billionaire by having someone else spend their money on your endeavors.

Many states provide lists of the registered lobbyists and the industries they represent. My state of Georgia provides a very good list of lobbyists, and the representatives who they are lobbying for at http://ethics.ga.gov/. A search of the site “for all” comes back with 1,096 lobbyists representing 28,224 filings for the year 2020.

Now admittedly, these total numbers are inflated as the lobbyist is required to register for each level of state government he intends to influence, but, why would Georgia need a lobbyist based in Seattle Washington? What has the state of Washington got that is so compelling that the people of Georgia need to have their representative’s arms twisted by someone from Seattle?

Searching the list provides company names like Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private-held prison company in the U.S, which is based in Tennessee. Corrections Corp. has changed their name to CoreCivic. Why the name change? Was the original name too accurate and easy to identify that you make your money by incarcerating people?

Having lived in Georgia most of my life, I can assure you that the Georgia legislators do not need outsiders putting bad ideas in their heads, they are perfectly capable of doing that on their own. Long has it been said, “when bad ideas have nowhere else to go, they hold a picnic at the Georgia state house”.

Having all of these outside influencers trying to tell Georgia representatives how to do things seems very counterintuitive to me. I’m sure that every transplant to Georgia has heard more than once “we don’t care how you did it ‘up North’ or wherever.” Traditionally, we Georgians don’t care if you’ve got a better idea or not, if you’re “not from around here” your ideas have no standing.

I would like to see the Georgia legislature listen to the people they represent through a referendum on an issue rather than take the advice of outsiders like lobbyists. Who knows, we might have a better idea for governing ourselves that someone in Punxsutawney. After all, we did get our own groundhog to predict our weather for us rather than relying on outside influencers.

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