Friday, January 06, 2006


The next few months of investigation into lobbying activities will be painful, I'm sure.

Not only for the scandalous exposure of people without ethics, but for the overgeneralizing, knee-jerk reactions of the public. I want to say, in my tiny voice, lobbyists are not the bad guys - any more than congressmen, senators or, for that matter, executive staffers and industrialists are. There are good ones and bad ones. Issues facing legislators are enormously complex. We would not want to pay legislators to have staffs large enough to research the issues they decide on every day. Lobbyists perform this function. It's not all about buying and selling votes. Most of the vast amount of money that's poured into lobbying activities pays salaries of people who do the research and present it to legislators.

This morning on C-SPAN Washington Journal covered the website of Lobbywatch, a project of the Center for Public Integrity. This incredibly rich database can be searched by issue, by agency, by industry and more. I'm looking forward to exploring it further. Sure I knew that Mobil/Exxon has more money in lobbying than the Union of Concerned Scientists. But who knew that the United Egg Association has a greater presence in Welfare lobbying than the Child Welfare League, or even the National Association of Social Workers. I know there are lobbyists for and against every issue. But where exactly do you think the Chocolate Manufacturers Association comes down on the welfare issue? If nothing else, this site is a treasure chest of names of organizations and agencies you never knew existed, much less lobbied for or against issues that affect you.

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