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Government The Almighty Buck Politics

Congressmen Who Lobbied FCC Against Net Neutrality & Received Payoff 192

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica published an article Friday highlighting the results from research conducted by a money-in-politics watchdog regarding the 28 congressmen who sent a combined total of three letters to the FCC protesting against re-classifying the internet as a public utility. These 28 members of the U.S. House of Representatives 'received, on average, $26,832 from the "cable & satellite TV production & distribution" sector over a two-year period ending in December. According to the data, that's 2.3 times more than the House average of $11,651.' That's average. Actual amounts that the 28 received over a two year period ranged from $109,250 (Greg Walden, R-OR) to $0 (Nick Rahall, D-WV). Look at the list yourselves, and find your representative to determine how much legitimacy can be attributed to their stated concerns for the public."
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Congressmen Who Lobbied FCC Against Net Neutrality & Received Payoff

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  • Re:Pretty much (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2014 @04:29PM (#47027501)

    Remember: []
    Move your ass, do something.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2014 @04:51PM (#47027587)

    I assume you wouldnt bring a briefcase with 100k in it.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @06:24PM (#47028187) Journal

    There is a fine line on this.

    Suppose your neighbor is going to install a swimming pool and in order to do it, they will have to tear up your yard to install the plumbing. Now suppose your late wife, mother, sister or whatever planted some rose bushes at the fence line and you do not want them disturbed at all because of the sentimental value attached to them. The contractor says- don't worry about it, we will plant new ones. You say that is not good enough, the originals must not be disturbed and protected else you cannot enter my property. So your neighbor decides to file for a right of way onto your property.

    Now you have a few choices. You can fight this on your own, possible winning or possible being out maneuvered by their legal team. Or you can obtain legal representation and leave it to them. If you get legal representation, they will be able to petition the judge directly and argue your case in a way that is likely more effective then you can. He goes in and tells the judge that these flowers were the last thing done between you and the lost loved one and losing the flowers would be like losing the loved one all over again. It would break your heart and crush your will to live. And this will happen year after year when they fail to come back up in the spring. The just decides that if your neighbor cannot guarantee the safety of the flowers, they need to move the pool so that it's installation will not encroach your property or endanger the flowers.

    So in this scenario, did you just bribe the judge or legal system by using a lobbyist (lawyer) who went and made your case through channels not open to you on your behalf in ways you couldn't make on your own so convincingly that you prevailed?

    That's one of the things lobbyist do. They make cases in ways that would influence the politicians though avenues not directly available to most people. 10,000 letters all saying do X would likely get somewhat ignored because it is so monotonous to read all of them. The thought of there being 10,000 of them probably doesn't register. But someone who can say I have 10,000 voters who want me to point this out is memorable in both what is pointed out and that 10,000 voters are behind it. And it is more likely that one person representing 10,000 voters can make this case in person than it is for 10,000 people individually.

    So while I agree that yes, payment for consideration is bribery, I disagree that all lobbying is bad or should be illegal. Even when that lobbyist gets access that you or I cannot.

  • Re:Pretty much (Score:4, Informative)

    by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @06:55PM (#47028341)

    Dollars do not win elections.

    IMHO that statement is 100% false and the example is a cherry picked outlier. Dollars are by far the most important thing in an election - especially the bigger elections. They pay for strategy and marketing to craft the proper lie then buy commercials to brainwash the populace.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @07:05PM (#47028391) Journal

    Actually, although it is hardly ever prosecuted when it is openly and know, offering a bribe is against the law too. []

    It seems that if you offer a bribe, you can be fined 3 times the monetary equivalent amount of the bribe and be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison as well as being disqualified to ever hold any pubic office or work for the government.

    But Tom Steyer who recently announced he would give donations totaling 100 million dollars to candidates promising to support rejecting the keystone XL pipeline and support global warming efforts will likely never be prosecuted despite those acts specifically matching the first paragraph in the law

    (1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intentâ"
    (A) to influence any official act; or

    This is because for some reasons, campaign donations don't seem to count as bribery. Maybe they should when they have purposely stated attachments to them instead of simply amplifying already existing convictions or the politicians. Maybe we should just accept it and move on knowing that there are problems.

  • Re:Pretty much (Score:5, Informative)

    by guises ( 2423402 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @07:14PM (#47028447)
    According to Politifact, it's only mostly false []. The candidate who spends the most money wins 80+% of the time (98% for the house in 2004), but exactly how often they win varies by election.
  • Cultural Literacy (Score:5, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @07:21PM (#47028467)

    Large sections of our Constitution and the basis of our Representative government were designed to keep poor people from voting themselves the land that the wealthy had already claimed... There really wasn't any reason to hide it since if you were literate you were probably rich.

    A dangerous assumption to make.

    In 1776, one book, written in complex language, sold over 120,000 copies in Colonial America.

    First convert 120,000 into a fraction of the U.S. population in 1776: compared to the population at the time of 2.5 million, 120,000 is roughly 1 in 20, or 5%. Today's U.S. population is about 300 million --- of which 5% is 15 million.

    Fifteen million copies today! More surprisingly, Common Sense by Thomas Paine sold this equivalent in just three months. In its first year, it sold 500,000 copies, or 20% of the colonial population.

    Today's equivalent is 60 million copies.

    Were Colonial Americans More Literate than Americans Today? []. ''Every Man Able to Read'' []

    In the late colonial and early federal era, disputes over land ownership centered on the opening of the western frontiers to settlement and the abolition of feudal tenures. The Last Patroon []

    The Library of America's two volume "The Debate on the Constitution" can be found in most public libraries.

    For Americans this is Shakespeare, and more. Not only is it wonderful writing, it is wonderful thinking. -- Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:16AM (#47030175)

    An Oligarchy does not necessarily mean that the wealthy control the government; it can also apply to dynastic rulership by families on the basis of something other than wealth, e.g. as in Feudalism, or it could be a combination of factors, not always involving wealth.

    The study referred to specifically called out wealth as the overriding factor in control, which makes it a Plutocracy.

    You can see from the wikipedia article on Oligarchy that it's a quite inexact term for what they are talking about: []

    "Forms of government and other political structures associated with oligarchy can include aristocracy, meritocracy, military junta, plutocracy, stratocracy, technocracy, theocracy and timocracy."

    For a supposedly academic study, you'd think they would be a little less loose with their definitions, particularly when they are counter to the conclusions they have reached, under some circumstances. For example, I don't think under any stretch of the imagination could we say that the government of the U.S. was a Theocracy, Technocracy, or Military Junta. Indeed, we can say that it went from a Timocracy to a Plutocracy about the time corporations gained citizenship, and dollars were ruled to be equivalent to speech by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling