The Office of Management and Budget will release a new rule on Wednesday expected to allow registered lobbyists to participate in policymaking deliberations in an advisory role after a judge ruled against the administration earlier this year.
Lobbyists for corporations and industry groups will now be allowed to serve on more than 1,000 industry boards, panels and commissions that give the private sector an advisory role in decision-making across the executive branch, according to a copy of the rule published on the Federal Register site.
The new rule affects a policy implemented in June 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s ethics package, but keeps some of the ban in place. Lobbyists will be allowed to serve only on commissions and boards in a “representative” capacity — so long as they’re acting on behalf of a corporation, trade association or industry group and not as private citizens or representatives of the government.
So, if I am to understand this, Obama passed a rule to curb lobbyist influence within industry boards, panels, and commissions. In response, said lobbyists sue and a judge agrees with them. As a result, lobbyists will now sit on boards in a representative capacity as long as they’re doing it on behalf of an entity that has money depending on the decisions of the commissions and/or boards. Thanks Obama.
Where does the average Main Street American fit into this whole scenario? We keep hearing politicians claim that they’re trying to help Main Street America, but their actions show otherwise. Do we need to retool our schools to turn out corporate lobbyists instead of engineers, scientists, and other professionals?
Our government already has very little semblance of even giving a damn about the average person, so I guess we should simply ask them to remove all the facades anyway. We all know that lobbyists and interest groups write the bills that “Congress” supposedly writes anyway, so why should we all sit on the sidelines and suffer the consequences of the actions of others.
I propose that we, Main Street America, form our own special interest group so that we can hire our own lobbyists to sit on these boards and help shape policy so that it benefits us for once. We can call the group the Voices Of Tired Everyday Real Americans, or V.O.T.E.R., for short. We can then register our own 501(c)3 or (c)4 groups, and use Citizen’s United to our advantage. We can run “policy” ads that help to communicate what we desire for America. Even though we would be banned from directly coordinating with candidates, we could “educate” the population as to which candidate would best serve our interests.
As an added advantage, we could all lower our tax burdens due to our tax-deductible contribution to the social welfare groups that we’ve formed and operated. If you’re concerned about your employer knowing about your political activity, there’s no fear as some groups wouldn’t be required to disclose their donors. With the idea in mind of attracting at least 50% of the population, we could amass a serious war chest with very small donations from each person. Considering we’d have a group consisting of more than 150 million people, a $10 dollar donation from each person would give us an operational budget of $1.5 Billion dollars to help influence policy in DC. If there’s one thing that politicians love more than the power of their positions, they love the idea of having billions of dollars of support behind them. We already know that.
Politicians always claim to be for the voters, so why not make them put their money where their mouth is for once? Let’s make them truly look out for the V.O.T.E.R. for once instead of looking out for their own wallets. Why should we not have representation on these boards and commissions? Is that not a form of taxation without representation? Better yet, let’s do away with all these boards in the first place and put the decision-making back into the hands of the people who beg us to vote for them so they can make those decisions. We’re already paying them at least $174,000 a year with benefits plus millions more in additional allowances. Isn’t it time we actually get our money’s worth from DC for the first time in a long, long time?
**If you’re truly adventurous, you can look to see what your House Representative and Senator shells out for their Congressional allowances. They are huge files, and it takes some digging to get down to the numbers. I did find that Sen. Saxby Chambliss gets more than $3 million for his staffing and expense allowances.