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White House Petition To Investigate Dodd For Bribery 596

Walkingshark writes "Chris Dodd's recent statements complaining that congressmen who receive donations from the RIAA and MPAA should toe the line has spawned a firestorm of anger on the internet. Among the bits of fallout: a petition on the White Houses "We the People" site to investigate him, the RIAA, and the MPAA for bribery! This petition gained more than 5000 signatures in 24 hours and is still growing. When the petition reaches 25,000 signatures the White House is obligated to respond to it in an official capacity."
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White House Petition To Investigate Dodd For Bribery

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  • Good fucking luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:20PM (#38784513)

    [comment goes here]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:22PM (#38784533)

    Of course nothing will happen. Since when do crooks convict themselves ?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:32PM (#38784643)

      Dodd isn't going to suffer legal consequences, but if enough stink is made he'll be a less effective mouthpiece. That's a worthwhile goal.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:57PM (#38786725) Homepage

        Chris Dodd as bag handler collecting a whack of cream from the top has just made himself unemployed. Being a public idiot when you bought off politicians refuse to obey your orders, will get you fired every time.

        He has effectively made a bad situation much worse. Now any attempt to pass those two pieces of legislation will come of as bribery and corruption. Of one industry setting up legislation to competitively destroy another industry for commercial advantage.

        Everyone knows it was about old world mass media regaining control of what information the public gets, about shutting down every influential blog, forum and web portal not owned or controlled by mass media. Basically to shut down means by which Obama and quite a few Democrats got elected.

        All politicians have now seen which way the wind is blowing, in the battle between the internet and the idiot box, the internet is kicking the idiot box's ass and with it the ability of old world mass media to control the public mind space.

        • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:09PM (#38786797) Journal

          No need to be so optimistic.. Old world mass media still owns the pipe... If you don't believe me, just look at the types [freep.com] that are still winning elections. I mean, how is this possible? (That's a rhetorical question, no need to answer)

        • Everyone knows it was about old world mass media regaining control of what information the public gets, about shutting down every influential blog, forum and web portal not owned or controlled by mass media. Basically to shut down means by which Obama and quite a few Democrats got elected.

          Hey, so... I just thought of us, but do we have a Plan B?

          Let's assume the worst - the United States does some heinous shit and fucks over the entire Internet - either for their country or maybe for the whole world.

          After some initial chaos Europe and other countries will probably get a handle on things, but what do us Americans do?

          I imagine a bunch of us geeks could probably figure things out on our own - alternate DNS, Tor, whatever. But what about the regular folk? What about the geeks that would love to be able to do something but can't because they don't have that knowledge?

          We need to make something like this [topatoco.com], except title it "Let's Say America Fucked Up The Internet" along with a host of possible options to try, and then we need to distribute the shit out of that motherfucker.

        • Now any attempt to pass those two pieces of legislation will come of as bribery and corruption.

          SOPA/PIPA were the decoys and have now become bait for the slavering pack to tear at while the real work is being done.

          The real legislation will be quietly passed as riders while you're patting yourselves on the back and preening over your fresh "kill".

      • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:01PM (#38786743)

        "...but if enough stink is made he'll be a less effective mouthpiece."

        Better yet, he'll become the political equivalent of tainted meat, fit for not save the rendering tub. He will be effectively removed from circulation, and that is a win, plain and simple.

        When he is reduced to scraps from the tables of the corrupt, then it is time to focus on the next corrupt politician/lobbyist. Maybe a regular petition campaign, that draws attention to specific examples of corruption, would be picked up by more media (independent, I'm guessing) and this might have some real, positive benefit/results. The White House took a stand against SOPA/PIPA--signing this petition is a way of backing them up on that decision, of standing behind the President. I suppose that the President could interpret every petition signature as a vote next election, and I am guessing he would be correct in that assumption, especially if he takes action in response to that petition.

        I'm refreshing that petition in my browser, and see people signing it at about one signature every 4-5 seconds, less time then it takes to read the petition, yet when I Google "Chris Dodd", there are only a couple of news articles that relate to the comments he made (although I am watching that change quickly. Snowball effect?), so I think it safe to say that people are not reacting to something in mainstream media, but the content of the petition itself. Yay. Perhaps those signatures will come in faster then the dollars from lobbyists.

        Email a link to a friend or family. We all have a stake in this. Maybe it will get enough signatures that the mainstream media can no longer ignore it.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:14PM (#38785765)

      Official White House response...

      Well, we talked to Chris and he said that it was nothing like it sounded, so we are satisfied.

    • by lorenlal ( 164133 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:46PM (#38786073)

      If you tell the executive branch, "Hey a whole bunch of D-bags in Congress are being bought and paid for," I'd bet they'd be willing to at least take a look.

  • Lobbying vs Bribery (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Warlord88 ( 1065794 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:22PM (#38784541)
    Seriously, what's the difference between lobbying and bribery?
    • by FreeCoder ( 2558096 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:24PM (#38784559)

      Seriously, what's the difference between lobbying and bribery?

      Bribery is honest, lobbying is dishonest.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:39PM (#38784725)

        Lobbying has some legitimate uses.

        Let's Congress wants to open up part of a national forest for logging, oil drilling, or whatever because Congressman Joe Schmoe or his buddy happens to own a logging company. The Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups can lobby against it and point out the conflict of interest to other Congressmen.

        Or we can lobby against corporate interests ourselves - grass roots lobbying - like with the SOPA and PIPA stuff.

        OR we can lobby for something, like single payer health insurance. Because they millionaires on Capital Hill with their Congressional perks would never think of such a thing.

        Or lobby for more national parks.

        Or lobby for reduction in taxes.

        Or ......

        Because just having the Congress people left to their own devices would lead us down an even worse path that we are on now.

        But what I think we should outlaw is corporate lobbying. A corporation should have no political voice at all.Neither should government employees lobbying to make their jobs easier - like law enforcement lobbying for our Civil Liberties to be taken away because they're too lazy to do their job or because they want more power: the wars on terror and drugs and child porn excuses have eroded our liberties too much. And keep in mind "law and order" conservatives, those will be used as an excuse to take our guns away so don't go for the lie of "if you do nothing wrong; you have nothing to worry about" bullshit.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I know I'm replying to an AC but I would like to think that corporate lobbying was allowed because sometimes, a corporation made up of specialists in a field would know better how things in their expertise work as opposed to politicians (e.g. technology, education, environment, etc.). I am not a lawyer nor someone versed in law history so I'm not familiar with corporate lobbying's history but I would like to think that there was something good about it (as opposed to a shallow reason like the thinkofthechil

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:11PM (#38785095)

            a corporation made up of specialists in a field would know better how things in their expertise work as opposed to politicians (e.g. technology, education, environment, etc.).

            The experts really think that an issue is important, then they can lobby as individuals for that issue - whatever it may be.

            If only there was a line that can be easily identified between "Corporation that knows what it's doing for the greater good" and "Corporation that is trying to abuse the hell out of the system and/or doing something stupid".

            Yes there is a line.

            Corporations always do what's necessary to bolster their bottom line and it is always at the expense of people.

            By all means, post an example - just one would be more than sufficient since I stated an absolute - of a corporation lobbying on the behalf of the public good AND that is detrimental to their profits.

            Just one to blow me out of the water and I'll kiss goatse on the ass.

            • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:05PM (#38785663) Journal
              Actually I would argue that JUST lobbying is fine i.e. putting an argument to a politician that a law should be changed. It's when the lobbying involves large amounts of cash, fancy holidays and expensive gifts that it stops being lobbying and becomes bribery.
              • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:48PM (#38787111)
                Lobbying is fine. Just make it so that all meetings between elected politicians and lobbyists/donors have to be videotaped and the videos put on the government website for the entire public to watch. This would have zero impact on legitimate lobbying. If an individual or a corporation has a good argument why a law should be changed, it will work on the public as well as it will on the politician. In fact they'd welcome this since it's free advertising for their issue.

                The lobbyists trying to do something underhanded, against the better interest of the public, though (i.e. bribery). They will be running scared from this idea.
            • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:06PM (#38786275)

              Posting here because this at the top so far.

              http://wh.gov/KiE [wh.gov]

              That is the direct link to sign the petition at the White House website. Still needs 14,000 signatures to go.

              Slashdot that petition please :)

            • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:28PM (#38787393) Homepage Journal

              "By all means, post an example - just one would be more than sufficient since I stated an absolute - of a corporation lobbying on the behalf of the public good AND that is detrimental to their profits."

              My company, lobbying to get rid of SOPA and PIPA (and probably pissing off a lot of government people which hurts my chances at any sort of gov't contract.)

              Get to kissing.

          • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:12PM (#38785097) Homepage Journal

            You would like to think that? Well, go right ahead and think it. That won't make it true, but it might make you feel better.

            CLUE: The corporates don't send their specialists to explain the real facts of life to congress critters. Instead, they send PR/HR/marketdroids with deep pockets. The specialists are kept at their desks, or in the shop, or out in the field, where facts are actually useful.

            I invite you to read Allen Greenspan's recent remarks about banking legislation. Words to the effect, "We thought the banks could make decisions that were best for them - how wrong we were!"

            Corporations never do anything "for the greater good". Today, they don't even do things for their own good. The zombies only have eyes for quarterly profit statements, totally unaware that those statements are full of lies.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:23PM (#38785857)

        Lobbying = Right to Petition.

        Contributing to a campaign = Free Speech.

        Quid Pro Quo ( for contributing to a campaign ) = Bribery.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )

      There's a fine line. It's usually OK to make a sizable donation to a candidate and give them a wink, wink nudge, nudge about what you want. It's not OK to pay for them to take specific positions and vote in specific ways.

      • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:14PM (#38785763) Journal

        It's usually OK to make a sizable donation to a candidate and give them a wink, wink nudge, nudge about what you want.

        True but this should not be ok any more that it should be ok for lawyers to make sizeable donations to jurors in a court case and then give them a wink, wink, nudge, nudge about the verdict they should return. In both circumstances evidence and verbal arguments should be the only means of persuasion allowed. I'm not suggesting that lobbying should become as restricted and formalized as a court but some basic, ethical ground rules need to be enforced.

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:32PM (#38784645) Journal

      In theory, when a politician is bribed, he is paid to hold a particular opinion. When he is lobbied, he is paid (indirectly) for someone to be allowed to present their case. In practice, when you have two sides to an argument and one is paying to make its case and the other is not, then the politician does not hear from the other side and so ends up holding whatever opinion the lobbyist presents.

      Lobbying wouldn't be such a problem if politicians were less lazy. If they heard from lobbyists and then did some real research on the topic, then lobbying would just do what it was meant to: bring issues to the attention of elected representatives.

      • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:15PM (#38785129) Homepage Journal

        Lobbying wouldn't be such a problem if politicians were less lazy. If they heard from lobbyists and then did some real research on the topic, then lobbying would just do what it was meant to: bring issues to the attention of elected representatives.

        - oh, the innocent naivety!

        Do you know that the members of Senate/Congress can receive legal bribes in form of company shares but not as cash? Do you know that information on who is going to receive an approval on a new medical procedure/drug/device and who will not get that approval can flow from FDA office to a third party legally?

        You think lobbyists will keep coming to a Senator/Congressman/White House occupant who will take their money and will not deliver?

        You think Dodd would have been hired as a lobbyist (after explicitly saying he won't lobby) by MPAA/RIAA if he didn't play ball while back in Senate?

        No, the only real solution is to take the power of regulating individual business activity, taxing income/payroll/corporations away from government and return the power to run businesses as they see fit to the people.

        The real solution is to make the government uphold the Constitution for a change and not do what they are not authorised to do there. Only when you take away their power to steal your power, they will stop selling it, because they won't have it ready to be sold.

    • by Gideon Wells ( 1412675 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:34PM (#38784671)

      Lobbying is you giving money to someone who is already in line with your thinking and you want to help.

      Bribery is giving someone money to do what you tell them to.

      Very clear difference. I mean it is piratically ketchup and catsup clear. Basically that is what happened here. Dodd stating "we gave you money, you better listen!" may have crossed that very fine line. Otherwise, he could have just been supporting people he agreed with.

  • Yeah right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:23PM (#38784547)
    That would result in pretty much every lobbyist and politician in America being investigated for giving or taking bribes. We will not see this happen, just like we never saw electronic voting machines being properly audited.
    • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:29PM (#38784613) Homepage Journal

      Investigating Dodd is a good place to start. Even just getting Obama to refuse to investigate Dodd is a start. You're insisting on never starting.

      • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:39PM (#38784733)
        At best, all the petition will do is prove what everyone should already know: Democrats and Republicans are the servants of big businesses and not the American public. Lobbying / bribery is so commonplace in American government that I doubt we could find a politician with any influence who would not be implicated in any hypothetical investigation.

        We need to start voting for different people -- people who are not connected with big business, people who will work for the benefit of their constituents. Would you ask a mafia boss to crack down on organized crime?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:27PM (#38784583)

    The petition to take the petitions seriously (AKA the "calling shenanigans on "representation" petition) gained the required number of signatures already and was subsequently completely ignored.

    Link: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#%21/petition/actually-take-these-petitions-seriously-instead-just-using-them-excuse-pretend-you-are-listening/grQ9mNkN

    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:51PM (#38784863)

      Yep, this is exactly the way petitions in the UK worked when they were interested years ago, and still largely work today.

      They were sold as a way of using the internet to help get people involved in democracy.

      But what they really were was a way of using the internet to allow politicians to pretend they give a fuck about democracy.

      Things like the Digital Economy Act were some of the most voted against, but just got pretty much entirely ignored, now the new government has revamped the petitions barely a couple of thousand people have voted, despite I think hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions having voted on a petition about that the first time around.

      The petitions are just another way of pretending politicians care about the general populace, whilst doing quite the fucking opposite. The Whitehouse has obviously learnt from our successive governments what a useful tool they are for distracting people from the real situation.

  • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:27PM (#38784585)

    When the petition reaches 25,000 signatures the White House is obligated to respond to it in an official capacity.

    Will this response be of a similar nature to how the UK government response to its equivalent petition site? i.e. the official response is to make it clear they are officially ignoring the petition?

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:42PM (#38784771) Homepage
      Yeah, many of the petitions that have reached 25,000 have gotten a response that amounts to "no comment". It's too bad the media doesn't pick up on these petitions.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:22PM (#38785171) Journal

        The media are not picking up on it but the "social media" is. The White House thought these petition were a good way to hoodwink the public into thinking someone cared but for the most part the serious ones like this one have been met with either "no comment" or some tired old saw we have been hearing for the last twenty years. No new arguments, no recognition times have perhaps changed, no attempt to justify why the old arguments still apply. Its all status quo, forever.

        I think people are seeing it. My guess is they'd pull this We the People thing down in a hot second if they thought that it would do anything other than make them look even worse. Its backfired big. "Hope and Change" was a vapid and empty promise; the trouble the other major political machine is churning out equally empty and hypocritical pandering.

        Ron Paul is nearly 80 years old and he is the youth candidate this year! I tend to agree with him on philosophical level for the most part myself but I think he actually is getting quite allot of support this year from those who don't. Why would people support a candidate they don't agree with? I will tell you they recognize the system is broken, the nation is in serious trouble, and something has to change. What Washington is doing is not working, better to take chance on ideas they don't necessarily agree with than to simply continue, what they see failing all over the place each and every day.

    • I can't help but thing of when there were demands for removing the prohibition of cannabis brought up on the site. The official response [norml.org] wasn't anything of honestly leveling with the people so much as basically telling everyone that they didn't care what we think and everyone should just piss off, with a heaping helping of vacuous crap. I highly doubt this will be any different. Sure they'll respond, but odds are it will be with some hollow & meaningless response, and in the end no action will be ta

    • I'm calling it now: the response will be "the White House is not permitted to comment on individual cases (See: "Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning", "Why We Can't Comment on this Petition about the Church of Scientology", etc.

      Best-case, we get something saying "the case has been referred to the Justice Department and the Attorney General, and the White House is pushing for an indictment".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:27PM (#38784595)

    Carlin - The Real Owners Of America

    "The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying  lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else."

    "But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

    "You know what they want? Obedient workers  people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club."

    "This country is finished."

    • by deanklear ( 2529024 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:01PM (#38784997)
      Carlin was mostly right.

      The question is, are you going to sit there and take it, or are you going to educate yourself and fight back? I'm afraid Carlin fell for an old trick: a tiny minority of powerful people telling the vast majority that they don't have any power. The term that has been coined for this is "antipolitics." Yes it is pervasive, and the message contained in the media and the whole platform of right wing anti-government and left-wing anarchist philosophies.

      The truth is that we have (compared with the rest of the world) relatively free and fair elections, relatively uncorrupted government, and the capability to change our government however we want to if we are willing to sacrifice some time and money to make the change happen. The truth is that most Americans have the government they deserve. We have achieved the technical definition of democracy, but we are letting new forms of aristocracy corrupt it.

      "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:28PM (#38784601)
    I mean that.


    Signature # 7,023
  • Losers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:28PM (#38784603) Homepage Journal

    As I post this comment, every comment posted in this thread before mine was an apathetic "signing the petition will do nothing". It would have taken just a few seconds longer to sign the petition, even if also creating an account to do so.

    Signing the petition might indeed do nothing. But posting a comment here saying so is absolutely guaranteed to do nothing. The corrupt politicos like Dodd absolutely count on people insisting on doing nothing. Just as bribery is the oxygen for their corruption, cynical apathy is the 78% nitrogen that makes the air they breathe.

    Sign the petition [whitehouse.gov], and at least have done something to strangle these parasites. Even if that's just being a small part of forcing the president to defend or deny them. It's better than nothing - certainly better than a loudly committed nothing.

    • Re:Losers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:39PM (#38784727)
      I couldn't help but notice that too. It was more than a little disheartening. You would think this would be a place to mobilize rather than lay down and die.

      Sorry I don't have any mod points for you.
      • Re:Losers (Score:4, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:51PM (#38784867)
        It is not about laying down and dying, it is about choosing how to spend your energy. You do not ask mafia bosses to crack down on organized crime. I have little faith that the Democrats or the Republicans would ever do anything more than put on a show of investigating bribery; it is so commonplace, and would implicate so many people that we would need to vote in a completely new set of politicians in order to fix the problem.

        That is what we should be spending our energy on: getting rid of the Democrats and the Republicans, and replacing them with politicians who work for the benefit of their constituents. Asking the Obama administration to investigate Chris Dodd for bribery is like asking Billy the Kid to head a posse to catch bank robbers. The Obama administration already accepted bribes for Dodd and co.; now they have backed off a bit and Hollywood is saying that the bribes will be withheld. It will take "new blood," politicians who are untainted by a history of bribery, to end the cycle of lobbying.
    • by alpinist ( 96637 )

      It would have taken just a few seconds longer to sign the petition, even if also creating an account to do so.

      Bingo. Heck, with Chrome autofill, it took less time to register and sign than it did to type out this reply.

    • Re:Losers (Score:5, Informative)

      by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:22PM (#38785169)

      Really, there are a lot of petitions on there I would think everyone on Slashdot would support. Consider these:

      Restore democracy by ending corporate personhood [whitehouse.gov]

      Reduce the term of copyrights to a maximum of 56 years [whitehouse.gov]

      End ACTA and Protect our right to privacy on the Internet [whitehouse.gov]

      You can register and sign all of them in about two minutes. There's absolutely no excuse not to, except apathy. Signing a petition may not change anything, but not signing it is guaranteed not to.

  • by ZOmegaZ ( 687142 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:29PM (#38784611) Homepage
    The last time I saw a response to one of these petitions, it was one for the elimination of the TSA. The response was written by the head of the TSA. Not to say you shouldn't push the button anyway. If the Obama administration is going to ask for our input and then blatantly disregard it, we may as well have them on record as doing so.
  • Audit Them All (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:32PM (#38784651) Homepage Journal

    Every single conversation, in person or over media (phone, email, etc) that any elected official has with anyone should be recorded and archived in the Library of Congress. And noted in a public schedule, except meetings a subcommittee in the House or Senate votes can be hidden. Any investigation should be able to subpoena any recording. With no expiration or statue of limitations.

    That kind of evidence generation would protect the honest conversations from the corrupt ones, and steadily improve the ratio.

    • Do you really want the Venn diagram for our political representatives to include a circle that says "People Willing to Appear on a Reality Show"?

  • Bribery? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:36PM (#38784697)
    I read his (Dodd's) comment to mean, essentially, "Don't expect to keep getting campaign support from people that don't think you're supporting their interests."

    How is this any different than a thousand donors to, say, Obama's last campaign saying, "We don't think you still care about [topic x] the way you did in 2008 when we supported you with cash, and if we still feel that way, we may not support your campaign next time around."

    Saying that - because you don't like a politician's posture/policy on a topiuc - you won't give a campaign donation next time doesn't mean that when you did support their campaign in the past, you were bribing them. If that were true, then every dollar donated by every person or organization is always bribery. Which is ridiculous.

    I dislke Dodd. He's an ass. But he's perfectly within his (and his employers') rights to say the same thing we can all say: "Mr. Politician: you're not committed to what I think is important, and so I'm probably not going to help your campaign fund next time."

    Anger "on the internet" about him being that straightforward is just the usual anger at the fact that a trade association made of up people who run studios and labels puts a priority on protecting their members' works. Shocking, I say! But thousands of people calling it "bribery" is just an adolescent display of ignorance or a disingenuous display of pandering rhetoric aimed at uninformed people.
    • Re:Bribery? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:50PM (#38784855)

      "If that were true, then every dollar donated by every person or organization is always bribery. Which is ridiculous."

      I don't think it is ridiculous at all.

    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      Let's be honest, the entire American political system operates on a system of borderline bribery at all times, it's just that most people have the common decency to be subtle about it. Dodd has just come out and said "We've been paying you money for years to do what we want you to and now that for once you've decided that what the voters want might be more important (out of you own self-interest rather than actually caring, of course) don't expect us to keep paying you" and in doing so has made explicit wha

  • Chris Dodd (Score:3, Informative)

    by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:41PM (#38784761) Journal

    The same Chris Dodd who, along with Barney Frank (you remember him, his lover ran a gay brothel out of his house a few years back), are the very crooks behind the housing crisis that started this whole recession.

    At least these two won't be able to do actual damage in Congress anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:43PM (#38784783)

    It's pretty insightful at how pretty pointless they are.


    • It's pretty insightful at how pretty pointless they are.

      If this petition hits 25,000, it will give non-compromised journalists an additional talking point that deserves to be brought up: that this legislation was bought.

    • It's a stupid article because any government petition system will always get 4 types of submission on a regular basis:

      Show us the aliens
      Legalize drugs
      Bring back the death penalty (where appropriate)
      Kick out all the foreigners

      The problem with these types of submissions is that they're utterly unrealistic; anyone with half a brain (and probably even those submitting them) knows that no democratic government is going to do any of those things on the strength of a petition, irrespective of the level of support (for various reasons) and so they're a complete waste of time. The fact that this happens doesn't make the system any less useful, it just alters the SNR slightly.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:46PM (#38784821)

    I'm reminded of Blagavitch. The man so corrupt he didn't think it was against the law to sell a senatorial seat.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:56PM (#38784929) Homepage Journal

    Don't be offended that Dodd is telling the politicians that took money from his employers to favor their interests and vote to the advantage of their benefactors.

    Be offended that:

    Our politicians take money from corporate interests that can NEVER be to the advantage of the nation or the people.

    Our politicians, having the power to ingratiate themselves to the corporations, also have the power to benefit from their positions by making investments based on the confidential and advance information they receive as a result of their work in Congress.

    It is legal that our Congress can take advantage of this information to make investments based on that information.

    It is illegal for us, even corporate officials, to make similar investments based on this information. Entirely illegal.

    So far as I have read in this discussion, no one has noted Chris Dodd's political party afilliation, which would not be the case, in my opinion, if his afilliation were different.

    Dodd's complaint that Congress took the money and isn't delivering speaks volumes. It is time to require complete and immediate disclosure of contributions. It is time to require membes of Congress be subject to insider trading laws just as corporate officials and private investors are. It is time to re-enact Glass-Steagell. It is time to abandon current campaign finance laws as ineffective. It is time to throw them all out. Every one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:59PM (#38784973)

    I have a valid ID for the website, but whe attempted to sign in to sign the petition, it wouldn't allow it, even after turning off all my blocking add-ons for the site, and restting my password several times. I've left a feedback via their site form. Hopefully, that still works.

  • by jacobsm ( 661831 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:00PM (#38784985)

    How many people don't think that money in politics is a bad thing? I believe the answer is 541.

    435 members of the House of Representatives.
    100 members of the Senate.
    5 judges on the Supreme Court
    1 President of the United States.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:20PM (#38785155) Homepage

    US law on campaign contributions [typepad.com] is very favorable to contributors, but there is a line beyond which a campaign contribution becomes bribery. Dodd probably just crossed it. The relevant Supreme Court decision reads "[A]ccepting a campaign contribution does not equal taking a bribe unless the payment is made in exchange for an explicit promise to perform or not perform an official act." It's one of those laws that requires proving criminal intent. Dodd's statement on national television probably provides that proof.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:22PM (#38785167) Homepage Journal

    by acknowledging that big time donors are paying for legislation, rather than pretending they get nothing for their investment.

    Now people want Dodd investigated. For what? For being candid for once about what *everyone* in *both* parties does?

    Fine, but don't stop with Dodd, or the message becomes clear: pretend nobody does it, and be treated like you don't do it. Or tell the truth, and be treated like you're the *only one* doing it.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:41PM (#38785375) Homepage Journal

    People waking up is much more important than any petition. For the first time people are openly reacting against corruption.

  • Such Gall! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:53PM (#38785525)
    I love gall (the other kind, not bile). Dodd has gall for standing up to America and admitting who he really worked for, bravo! While others shrink away and obfuscate, Chris comes forward and cuts to the chase. I suspect he never plans to run again for public office (except the presidency, of course). With his connections in Congress and the White House, there is no chance of any legal reprisal. Kudos for standing up and telling the truth about who gets their way in Washington.

    Now, when is somebody going to admit that the entire two-party system is rigged? Chris, you're on a roll; here's your chance.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:37PM (#38786583)

    I actually worked for a period of time with a former deputy counsel at the Federal Election Commission - What most people don't understand is that the definition of "bribery" here implies that the recipient was doing something illegal - which representatives weren't. By the legal standards, absolutely nothing wrong occurred (the ethical part is another matter). The sad fact is that it's perfectly acceptable for someone to tell a congressman that they will "give you X amount of money" if they vote a certain way, introduce a bill, etc.

    I know a decent amount about this stuff because I spent a number of months pursuing a concept that was right up this alley - it allowed average people to band together to help influence legislation by providing a way to collectively say something like "20,000 people will give you $10 dollars each if you introduce legislation to save the whales and vote yes". The idea was to balance out corporate and special interests (in an admittedly sort of perverted and crazy way. The money would actually leave donors hands and sit in a pool until some conditions were met to release it). Was serious enough about it for a while, and we actually ended up interviewing as finalists in Las Vegas for TechStars (not 100% sure why they were interested lol, but they invited us out, although we ultimately didn’t get in). I eventually decided the whole thing was probably too crazy and I needed a real job.

    I worked with the lawyer to vet the whole thing and make sure we wouldn’t end up getting sued by the FEC. He had concerns, but the idea of holding money over people’s heads in exchange for votes wasn’t one of them. He didn’t even bat an eye about it. I honestly have no idea what actually counts as a “bribe” anymore after working with him. Maybe there are still ethical concerns (violating congressional ethics rules, that is, not general ethics), but legally, I’m pretty sure this isn’t even remotely a concern.

    The website is still up as it was when we applied to TechStars and such if you care to look at the concept – http://oltest3.heroku.com was the testing site. The site’s name was OpenLobby (openlobby.com will just bring you to the landing site. ) Shame it didn’t work out. :)

    If you want a great read on how fcked up campaign finance is, check out "Unstacking the Deck: A Reporter's Guide To Campaign Finance". A bit outdated now, but I found it hard to read without thinking that half of congress deserves to be thrown in jail.

    • by martas ( 1439879 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:11AM (#38790871)
      Nobody will probably ever read this comment, but I just need to get this out there. The idea you had is certainly interesting, and has probably been had by many people, but I don't think it can ever really have a significant impact, and this is why [hp.com]. If only a few of the richest people/corporations throw their money behind something, you would need an impossibly large portion of the population to oppose it to have any hope of balancing out the numbers. This is why I think the notion of allowing any kind of financial contribution in politics, beyond a tiny amount per individual that a significant portion of the population should be able to afford (e.g. $100), is deeply flawed in a mathematical sense.

      There may be rare exceptions to this -- your idea might be effective if for example there is no corporate interest on certain topic, and the few thousand $ you raise happens to catch someone's attention enough to make it worth for them to bother spending any amount of time on it, but I think you'll agree that this is pretty rare. Another instance would be if there really is immense popular support for one side of an issue that can actually counterbalance the corporate opposition, but at those levels of popular support I think it really isn't a matter of money anymore, i.e. any reasonable politician would be more worried about public perception at that point than about campaign funding or whatnot.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun