Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hilary Rosen on US lobbying reforms

Former RIAA chief, Hilary Rosen has clear views on plans to reform lobbying in the US - they won't work.

"How strange to be a former lobbyist sitting back watching the hand wringing debate over lobbying reforms and ethics. To date nothing I've seen from Capitol Hill makes sense to me and the media is too consumed with ethics and revelation to talk about the real problem.

Damn straight when I gave a $1,000 or $2,000 to a lawmaker I wanted him to listen to my business proposition.

And when I helped organized an event that raised $50,000 or $100,000 you bet I expected their vote. Why else do it...

A lobbyist friend told me yesterday that enacting these reforms is like creating a "restraint of trade" on behalf of current lobbyists. Only those who already know members of Congress are sure to succeed. Anyone else coming in - forget it, no new relationships. The old school will be raking it in...

Corruption is sometimes obvious, like with Jack Abramoff, but just as often in Washington it is a subtle thing that happens to decent people.

The ONLY answer to all of this is public financing of elections. Then lobbying becomes genuine "education" and relationships are built on respect and constituent interest. It seems so obvious."

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