(LFC Comments: This is the second part of Mr. Edstrom’s three essays on politics.)
Money & Lawyers in Politics
Written by Warren Edstrom of Knox County
Money is neither good nor evil. It is a tool and will accomplish what its
owners wish it to accomplish. One of the ways the political parties use money for
control is by accumulating most of the money at the party level. Candidates
can seldom raise enough to run a successful campaign so they depend on the
party to help, but there are strings attached.
While moderating a recent candidate night one of the contestants said: “If
you take money from a special interest group, they will own you. That’s why
I don’t take their money”.
Now wait a minute. The Republican and Democrat parties are arguably the
two most powerful special interest groups in the world. Yet the candidate willingly takes
their money and does their bidding.
Where or who the money comes from is also a big issue. There are two kinds of big
donors. First, those who already agree with you on values and principles and know you
will promote certain legislation out of your values. These are “Values” donors. Second,
those who will want to influence your vote based on their own selfish concerns. These
people will probably not agree with your values, but hope to persuade you with
campaign cash. They cannot legally offer you a bribe.
This is where the lobbyist comes in. A lobbyist functions as a go between in a bribe.
They are usually past elected officials or political insiders who have moved on to
greener pastures. They know the workings of the system and know how to subvert the system for the benefit of their clients. If it did not work, they would not do it. By the way
they are almost all lawyers.
There are currently 33,000 lobbyists in Washington D.C. That is 61 lobbyists per representative. Is it any wonder they do not have time for the average citizen? We cannot walk into their office with a briefcase full of cash. As you can see “we the people” do not have much to say in the system as it exists today.
Let me give you a little background on how we got here.
The founding fathers of this great country created a Constitution and Bill of Rights that
are timeless. They established rules and principles that they knew would hold the
country together, in good times and bad, and would hold up to the tests and trials of
time. There was one caveat to ensure that the society would flourish: we must have
principled, moral people in public office.
We have slowly drifted away from these documents with the intention that our
modification of them would solve some problem, change things for the better, just to find
that our good intentions had bad consequences. We changed the way our Senators
would be selected, from being appointed by the state legislatures, to being elected by
popular vote. This change removed the interests of the states from being brought to
bear on the federal government.
We now have state sovereignty legislation pending to try to rectify this situation. If we
would have trusted the wisdom of the founders, we would not have been in this
circumstance and the Federal Government would not have so much sway over our
individual states. Add to this the lower moral values of our society have contributed to
the ease with which our politicians take payoffs in exchange for their votes and lie with
We are facing a time when the Federal government in Washington is grasping at all the
power they can get, and we have a willing Congress that hopes to use that power to
aggrandize them, gain more power and stay in office for life. They exempt themselves
from the burdens they place the backs of citizens. They vote themselves benefits and
great retirement packages, for life, at the same time many Americans are watching,
helplessly, as their retirement accounts dwindle to almost nothing.
This problem is not the fault of one party. They both are corrupt and play good cop bad
cop with us from one election cycle to the next. The people see this out of control
government, whose loyalty is not to the American people but to the special-interest
groups and lobbyists that finance their campaigns, and wonder “Where do I fit into this
Out of this frustration the people have come to believe that they have been silent too
long. The trust we have given our leaders in Congress and in our State capitols have
been betrayed by people and organizations that have their own self-interest at heart.
To this we must say, “ENOUGH”.