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View Poll Results: Is lobbying a form of bribery?
1. yes 21 72.41%
2. no 8 27.59%
Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-01-2012, 01:14 AM
 
11,535 posts, read 8,781,736 times
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Here is how Merriam Webster's dictionary defines bribe

Quote:
1: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2 : something that serves to induce or influence
Here is how they define lobbying

Quote:
: to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation

to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action:
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,413,918 times
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Lobbying is bribery if it consists of trying to influence someone to vote for something in their own best interests, rather than representative of the people whom they were elected to represent.

If a representative from Podunk, IL, has a group of Podunkians come to his office and demand that he support legislation that will help Podunk - legislation that will, say, put a Boeing plant or a Google operation there, or build roads, or even change the laws so that a business can move there, that is proper lobbying. If those same Podunkians get together and hire a lobbyist to wine and dine their representative, and convince him that voting for that legislation is the right thing to do for his constituents, then the lobbyist is merely representing the Podunkians. However, if Boeing hires a lobbyist to put on expansive presentations, and wine and dine and convince the representative to vote for legislation that will empower Boeing but hurt its competitors in Podunk, or to funnel money from the people in Butphuk, IA to support the Boeing plant in Podunk, then that is bribery.

Sadly, most representatives are charged with "bringing home the bacon" to their constituents; ensuring that they have jobs and homes and lifestyles that they want - and most don't care about or even consider the impacts or costs to the people whom they do not represent. Often they are not smart enough to even grasp the law of unintended consequences- that, for example, while using money from other states and even other countries to build a plant that employs 250 Podunk workers for 5 years, the impacts of not only the plant's operations but the impact when Boeing builds what they need and then shuts down and moves elsewhere, etc can cause future devastating impacts that are easily predictable. Most legislators don't think past the next 2 or 4 years - as long as it takes to get re-elected - and are easily swayed by lobbyists who read (who often have written) the legislation for them, interpret it for them, and tell them which way to vote, over a $150 steak supper.

That is the sort of 'representation' most people get when they vote on emotion instead of reason. It is the constituents who are ultimately to blame, because they vote in some megalomaniac or con artist who couldn't care less about what is good - short or long-term - for their constituents, but who only get and stay elected for their own empowerment. That is the reason we have "the best government that money can buy".

No offense to the Podunkians, Illinois residents, Butphukians, or Iowans, and no implication is meant toward Boeing per se. This sort of thing is endemic to every state, every legislature, as well as Congress.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:23 AM
 
14,298 posts, read 8,106,746 times
Reputation: 4247
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post
Here is how Merriam Webster's dictionary defines bribe

Here is how they define lobbying
Washington politicians and bureaucrats live in the beltway bubble, so the people who live in Realville who are negatively affected by some pending legislation, pool their money together and send a a subject matter expert to Washington, in order to represent them, to sway the votes of a few legislators. If that fails, then we get tens of thousands of people marching on Washington.

It's not bribery to send a few people, or 40,000 people to Washington, to express our views.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
3,843 posts, read 3,806,913 times
Reputation: 3074
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
Lobbying is bribery if it consists of trying to influence someone to vote for something in their own best interests, rather than representative of the people whom they were elected to represent.

If a representative from Podunk, IL, has a group of Podunkians come to his office and demand that he support legislation that will help Podunk - legislation that will, say, put a Boeing plant or a Google operation there, or build roads, or even change the laws so that a business can move there, that is proper lobbying. If those same Podunkians get together and hire a lobbyist to wine and dine their representative, and convince him that voting for that legislation is the right thing to do for his constituents, then the lobbyist is merely representing the Podunkians. However, if Boeing hires a lobbyist to put on expansive presentations, and wine and dine and convince the representative to vote for legislation that will empower Boeing but hurt its competitors in Podunk, or to funnel money from the people in Butphuk, IA to support the Boeing plant in Podunk, then that is bribery.

Sadly, most representatives are charged with "bringing home the bacon" to their constituents; ensuring that they have jobs and homes and lifestyles that they want - and most don't care about or even consider the impacts or costs to the people whom they do not represent. Often they are not smart enough to even grasp the law of unintended consequences- that, for example, while using money from other states and even other countries to build a plant that employs 250 Podunk workers for 5 years, the impacts of not only the plant's operations but the impact when Boeing builds what they need and then shuts down and moves elsewhere, etc can cause future devastating impacts that are easily predictable. Most legislators don't think past the next 2 or 4 years - as long as it takes to get re-elected - and are easily swayed by lobbyists who read (who often have written) the legislation for them, interpret it for them, and tell them which way to vote, over a $150 steak supper.

That is the sort of 'representation' most people get when they vote on emotion instead of reason. It is the constituents who are ultimately to blame, because they vote in some megalomaniac or con artist who couldn't care less about what is good - short or long-term - for their constituents, but who only get and stay elected for their own empowerment. That is the reason we have "the best government that money can buy".

No offense to the Podunkians, Illinois residents, Butphukians, or Iowans, and no implication is meant toward Boeing per se. This sort of thing is endemic to every state, every legislature, as well as Congress.
Good post but as a Bumphukian I'm offended by your lack of apology towards me and my people.

"
The BBC holds that "lobbying" comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates.[1] One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel's lobby to access Grant—who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.[2] Others have made the claim that this story of the word's origin is erroneous [2]
The term "lobbying" appeared in print as early as 1820:.[3]
Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only "lobbying about the Representatives' Chamber" but also active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union.
—April 1, 1820"


Lobbying - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The poll is flawed as this isn't a simple "yes" or "no" answer. As SCGranny rightfully points out there is a distinction between proper lobbying and bribery.



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Old 06-01-2012, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,657,689 times
Reputation: 7720
It is only bribery if something of value is offered in return for support or a vote and that is accepted. That's illegal.

Absent that, lobbying is simply democracy in action and should not be curtailed. The People should not be restricted from their right to band together, share resources and petition their elected representatives about something which affects them.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,305 posts, read 11,216,655 times
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As a lobbyist myself I know a little bit about what lobbying is and what lobbyists do. Lobbyists are frequently demonized, but I fail to understand what could be considered objectionable for a person or persons, including nonprofits, for-profit corporations, voluntary associations, unions, or state or local governments to hire someone who knows what they're doing to communicate with their government officials on their behalf.

The act of lobbying is not, in and of itself, bribery.

It is certainly possible, although also illegal, for lobbyists to pay bribes, and our history is replete with incidents of legislators of both political parties soliciting and receiving bribes from lobbyists.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:43 AM
 
Location: The Republic of Texas
66,460 posts, read 33,763,754 times
Reputation: 14231
Follow the money!
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:43 AM
 
277 posts, read 195,229 times
Reputation: 71
when an INDIVIDUAL writes his congressman and asks for something ....that too is lobbying

when a union rep goes and petitions a congressman for regulations.....that too is lobbying
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,492 posts, read 51,361,282 times
Reputation: 24613
What is the relationship between Lobbying and campaign contributions? Are these monetary contributions to be considered bribes if they are just for general agreement and support or if they are contingent on certain successful actions by the Representative? Would a continued payment from a previous employer be considered a perk or a bribe? What would holding the previous position open be considered?

Would you expect a Representative to live on their government stipend while their private finances were placed in a blind trust or would you expect the Rep to act in his own good by making decisions based on his personal situation? Who do you expect a Representative to represent? All of his constituents or his former, and possibly future, employers, or a few special interest lobbyists that take the effort, just shout of or maybe over the limits of bribery?
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:58 AM
 
529 posts, read 409,923 times
Reputation: 475
According to the rules of the chamber, House members can't accept gifts of any value (including $150 steak dinners) from lobbyists.

http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/PD...20Pamphlet.pdf
Page 41, 5. (a)(1)(A)(ii)
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