Is Campaign Finance Political Porn?

Campaign Finance ReformThe predictable media stories linking donor industries with candidates are the soft porn of the political press, promising incredible titillation and delivering lists of meaningless, largely predictable numbers.

The real reasons people give donations are pretty basic and intuitive: They give to people who agree with them. Continue reading Is Campaign Finance Political Porn?

What is Corruption?

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 7.42.23 PMI’m chronically ending up on the wrong side of debates about many types of corruption, I’ve come to wonder whether there’s any agreement on what non-illegal corruption looks like or whether I’ve simply been so corrupted for so long that I’m devoid of the moral sensitivity displayed by critics. Continue reading What is Corruption?

Lobbying’s Hidden Persuaders

lobby There are two interesting additions to the annals of political influence which focus on quiet issue lobbying.

The quiet lobbying game works best when no one looks carefully at the sausage-making machinery. It offers a stark contrast to the money game where contributors present themselves as 800-lb gorillas who are willing to spend as much as it takes to make things happen their way. Continue reading Lobbying’s Hidden Persuaders

A Return to Business as Usual?

Fiscal Cliff Talks It’s looking like a very merry holiday season with an extremely prosperous new year ahead for the lobbying community. Fiscal austerity is an ill wind that does blow some good to those paid to influence where the painful spending cuts will be made. And the growing possibility of tax reform is icing on the cake. Continue reading A Return to Business as Usual?