Third Party & Independents Archives

The Corpocracy; Moving Them Pork Bellies

An article, by Carol Leonnig and T.W. Farnam, was published in the Washington Post on the 26th of December relating to the ongoing conflict of interest concerning lobbying efforts aimed at influencing current legislative matters.

The article relates that several times within the last year Congressional members have held fundraisers during periods that were coincidental with legislative actions, casting an ethical cloud over the relationship between lobbyists and politicians.

In June, members of a joint House and Senate committee were working on drafting final rules for the financial bill. During that same time period lobbyists for the financial industry were working to weaken the financial bill. Some 35 members of the committee collected $440,000 from that same industry with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, receiving about $90,000 from financial entities.

In the same month there were 54 fundraisers to support the reelection campaigns of committee members. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) was mentioned as the VIP guest for a Florida lawmaker’s fundraiser some 48 hours before the committee officially began work on the bill. DLA Piper, a lobbying firm representing Discover Financial Services, Experian and Charles Schwab, played host for the fundraiser.

In early December, Senator Max Baucas (D-MT) gave himself a birthday party fundraiser. This, on the same day the Senate held their first vote on an $858B tax package that would benefit the wealthy and corporate community. A Baucas spokesperson stated that the only factor determining the Senator’s vote is whether his vote will be right for Montana and the country.

In September, the Senate voted on the Small Business Job Creation Act, a bill which became law creating a $30B loan fund for community banks. Hundreds of lobbyists were registered to lobby on this bill. For a 3 day period around the time of the vote Senators collected $469,000 from the financial industry with Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, receiving the most.

There are congressional ethics rules in place to deter fundraising during periods of legislative activity that would give the appearance of improper influence. But, some in Congress argue that fundraising and legislation goes on all the time and there is no way to know when the two issues occur simultaneously.

The voting public has longed for reform to prevent ‘Corpocracy rule’ and for-sale government. It’s not likely to happen as the status quo is a win-win for corporations and politicians, with the losers, the outsiders, being our representative democracy and the voting public.

If we are to achieve such reform it will be borne on the back of a new 3rd party. A party with a specific agenda to abolish corporate personhood law and implement real campaign finance reform. If you are interested in supporting such a party leave a comment or contact (email) the Republic Sentry Party.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by Roy Ellis at December 31, 2010 5:59 PM
Comment #316136

Schummer and Frank. Dodd would have been there if he had run. You can see how financial regulations are crafted.

Posted by: C&J at December 31, 2010 8:13 PM
Comment #316139

Not just representative of the finance entiities, C&J. It’s anywhere anytime pork bellies are being moved, IMO.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 31, 2010 9:35 PM
Comment #316147


Sometimes, of course, people and firms have legitimate reasons to lobby their representatives and the Congresspeople and staffers need the expertise. If congress is going to regulate an industry, it is a good idea if they understand it and they can really only learn from the people doing the work. The guy sweeping the floor should choose the broom.

Posted by: C&J at January 1, 2011 1:05 AM
Comment #316151

“Sometimes, of course, people and firms have legitimate reasons to lobby their representatives and the Congresspeople and staffers need the expertise.”

But when they bribe them at the same time it becomes a problem. Nothing stops them from stating their case to the their elected representative. That is free speech. When they give money at the same time bills are be written and debated it is a bribe. If I were to lobby the cop that just pulled me over on the bad side of writing me a ticket it would be acceptable. When I forward the idea of giving his retirement fund a donation while doing so it is a bribe. There is no difference, IMHO, between the cop and me, and the representative and the lobbyist.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 1, 2011 12:22 PM
Comment #316152

Quite correct, C&J and j2t2. What ‘we the people’ must advocate for is a legislative system sans the humongous conflict of interest arising from the current legislative process.

To correct the situation requires some major reforms. Corporate personhood law should be repealed/abolished removing ‘human rights’ for corporations from law. Also, campaign finance reform is necessary to stop the influence of money in politics and the election process. Through those reforms we can restore integrity to the legislative process while removing the money influence currently in play by the Corpocracy.

We all understand that the Corpocracy will not, can not carry out such reforms. The Corpocracy, through the money influence, has usurped the peoples interest in gov’t, kicking the voter to the curb while enjoying the full attention of incumbent politicians and candidates.

It’s going to take a revolution of sorts where Independents move to support a 3rd party with a different political attitude. A party with an agenda to carry out said reforms and membership rules to insure that the party doesn’t fall prey to the money influence of the Corpocracy once reforms are in place. Republic Sentry Party refers…

I believe the next 2-4 years will, as the recession stagnates further and following on the heels of the coption of the Tea Party, be prime for a 3rd party movement.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 1, 2011 12:41 PM
Comment #316153

Neither candidate for president in 2012 will be accepting public election funds.

The politicians love to say there is no quid pro quo when the fact is that it has been institutionalized. We might as well have Congressional committees devoted to it and The Department of Quid Pro Quo for the executive branch, make it official.

Soon, Madison Avenue advertising agencies will be holding interviews and talent assessments to select corporate sponsored politicians.

What amazes me the most is how much these corporations are paying leftist politicians promoting a socialist agenda.

Posted by: jlw at January 1, 2011 1:42 PM
Comment #316180

Actually history hives us a good answer to solving the problem of pork and political donations. For why every community needs projects done, I do believe campaign donations could go along way in paying for the bonds. Than we need only to limit our candidates to advertising on free access cable and tv shows.

Because although a candidate may not work for We the People, as an Elected Official they do. Thusm the money they raise should be treated by us as personal income or be governed by us on how and where it is used.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 2, 2011 4:39 AM
Comment #316199

Why so many beat around the bush in trying to solve political problems I don’t know. I see nothing romantic or traditional about the duopoly/Corpocracy that would preclude my wanting a shiny new third party with a different political attitude. And, why would you want to mimic or duplicate the duopoly parties in forming any new party?

What are people yearning for, expecting from their gov’t? Accountability runs high on my list. ‘Read the Bill’, ‘Omnibus spending’, ‘you scratch my earmark and I’ll scratch yours’, ‘obfuscation through 1000 pagers’, ‘bridges to nowhere’, etc. I don’t want my tax dollars going to support Jack Abramoff, Ted Stephens, etc. I want a party that will give members a chance to reach out and touch people like that. A party that will facilitate their membership in voting to reject those who would use their elected office to the detriment of the nation. Why would an electorate vote for a Charlie Rangel or a Harry Reid? Because, they have proved they can ‘bring home the bacon’. Alaska nearly went crazy when Murkowski lost the primary. Between Stephens and Murkowski, Alaska has received the lions share of pork for years. So, they beat feet to the polls to make sure Murkowski was re-elected.

People will admit that both parties are little more than corporate shills yet somehow feel that the parties will somehow reinvent themselves over time and ‘throw the bums out’. Not going to happen in our lifetimes.

This is 2010. No dollar of revenue should escape congress without a contractual agreement as to where and how that dollar will be expended. Some person of authority should have to sign on the dotted line. Is that too much to ask in 2010, digital age and all? If your congressperson wants to spend my tax dollars on an obsolete jet engine that will never be used then I want to be able to cast a vote to register my true grit. I can do that through a third party with a different political attitude, if the congressperson happens to be a member of my party.

For those who have been kicked to the curb, unemployed by the Corpocracy in their quest for a wild west type of ‘globalisation’, would you not want to seek out a shiny new third party that would offer a touch of ‘protectionism’ and a bit of ‘anti-trust’ enforcement to return a sufficient number of jobs to this nation? Otherwise, we can hang around and die on the double edged sword of ‘globalisation’ and ‘Corpocracy’, IMO.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 2, 2011 3:27 PM
Comment #316203

Welcome to the business of politics. And though I agree we need to educate our Elected Officials better, I do believe it starts by educating the public first. For today the “Government” is owned by the Rich and Wealthy; however, just as parents and grandparents of the 40’s and 50’s the average American needs to be taught that investing in the bonds and notes of Local, State, and Federal Treasuries is the best way to ensure We the People maintain control over our Elected Officials.

Now in the race to win the wild west of globalisation, I do believe if Americans want to they can lead by example. For unlike the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s who promoted “Meism” going forward the motto IMHO should be “If We do not build a Better World than who will?”

Yes, changing the mindset of the Old Folks (those over the age of 30) has never been easy nor should it be; nevertheless, enlightening our Youth on the endless possiblities facing them and how to achieve those goals in stages reflects the best of our forefathers and ancestors belief in the Human Race and goes beyond the Politics of Man and Time. So keep the Faith for though Corpocracy will have to serve the Youth of Today, learning how to make it work for every citizen instead against every citizen is still a road better left to the Teachers of Man.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 2, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #316238

Most (if not all) in Congress are FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt.

Only a tiny fraction of Americans actually give campaign contributions to political candidates, parties or PACs. The ones who give contributions large enough to be itemized (over $200) is even smaller. The impact of those donations, however, is huge.

Perhaps all campaign donations should be collected into a single fund and split equally amongst all candidates?

Of course, Congress will never voluntarily allow such reforms (i.e. campaign finance reform).
Such reforms are impossible as long as Congress is allowed to ignore (i.e. violate) Article V of the U.S. Constitution, despite all 50 states having submitted over 400 Article V applications (the largest number being for a BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT):

    Article V of the U.S. Constitution:
      The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

At any rate, the majority of voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, possibly, until repeatedly rewarding failure, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, arrogant, greedy, and corrupt incumbent politicians in Congress with perpetual re-election rates finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 4, 2011 9:01 AM
Comment #316366

Absolutely, campaign finance reform is the way to go. No way we can expect this mess to be straighted out until corporate personhood law is abolished and campaign finance reform implemented. And, just as d.a.n noted - one kettle of money divided among the viable candidates/incumbents.

Most assuredly, movements such as Voting Out Incumbents Democracy and Article Five Convention are the tools we could use to achieve those reforms. And, it makes all the sense in the world to me, that when those reforms are achieved there has to be some force in place to ‘keep it that way’ lest the corpocracy, through the ‘money influence’ will subvert/co-opt any real reform and return themselves to power again. We will need a 3rd party designed for the 21st century. May as well get started, IMO.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 5, 2011 10:13 PM
Comment #316394

If the 112th Congress fails as miserably as the numerous previous Congress’ have (and there’s no reason to believe the 112th Congress will be any better than the several Congress’ before it), the rise of a third party is increasingly probable.

However, if it doesn’t happen soon, there may not be enough moderates required to make it happen, because they will be out-numbered by the growing number of parasites from both ends of the spectrum:

  • Extreme #1: One extreme wants regressive taxation, unfettered capitalism, monopolies, and freedom to explore and wallow in every manifestation of unchecked greed (which we have seen plenty of lately).
  • Extreme #2: The other extreme wants a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged and fraudulent) that nurture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.

Until Congress is forced (by voters and/or by a law-suit by one or more state legislatures) to obey Article V of the The U.S. Constitution, campaign finance reform and other badly-needed common-sense reforms are unlikely.

At any rate, the majority of voters have the government that they elect, and re-elect, … , and re-elect, at least, possibly, until repeatedly rewarding failure, and repeatedly rewarding FOR-SALE, incompetent, arrogant, greedy, and corrupt incumbent politicians in Congress with perpetual re-election rates finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 6, 2011 8:55 AM
Comment #317008

d.a.n, it’s just as easy to speculate in the opposite direction as well. The dems are infighting now and this may worsen leading up to the election as the President will feel the need to lead from the middle. Also, it’s possible the TEA party and the GOP may have a serious falling out.

It is possible that the Independent majority will grow their numbers over the next few years. Especially so, if the economy is not markedly improved. And, we’ve heard the saying many times, ‘people vote their pocketbooks’.

Banks repo’d more than 1M homes in 2010. Food prices are up 1.1% and gas is expected to hit $4/gal this year. Homeless up 3%. Most numbers are not looking good at this point in time.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 13, 2011 10:13 AM
Comment #317116

No doubt political fortunes turn on the economy. There may be a rush to Independentism over the next year or so.

The several states with high deficits could put a crimp on the municipal bond market. If that happens one would expect the ranks of Independents growing larger yet, IMO.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 14, 2011 11:36 AM
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