Skip to comments.Mickey Goes to Washington (lobbyist draining our dollars)
Posted on 02/17/2008 4:11:54 PM PST by ddtorquee
The number of people who make their livings trying to influence the federal government runs into the hundreds of thousands, an enormous figure given the fact that most lobbying is aimed at 535 members of Congress. The exact size of this lobbying army is hard to define, however, because the 30,000 or so people who register to lobby each year do so voluntarily (there is essentially no enforcement of lobbying registration laws), and only those who meet with lawmakers and their staffs directly are required to register at all.
The majority of people who lobby do so indirectly, through tele-marketing, advertising and the like, and none of them have to identify themselves to the public.
James A. Thurber, a professor of government at American University and a lobbying expert, puts the number of lobbyists (including supporting staffs) at about 261,000, twice as many as eight years ago. Fees paid to individual registered lobbyists also have doubled during the Bush administration, to more than $2 billion a year.
The explosion in the size of K Street, the locus of the lobbying industry, is an extension of the growth and reach of government. The ballooning federal budget has its tentacles in every aspect of American life and commerce. No serious industry or interest can function without monitoring, and at least trying to manipulate, Washington's decision makers. The penalty for ignoring the federal government can run into the billions of dollars. Just ask Microsoft. The software giant was hit with an antitrust lawsuit by the Justice Department in the late 1990s and, in 2001, agreed to alter the way it packaged its computer operating system. Before then, it had mostly ignored the nation's capital.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
--the problem in a nutshell--