Corruption and Politics
Lobbying has a reputation for being one of the most controversial issues in American politics. It is undeniable to accept the fact that good and bad results when lobbying takes place. Some argue that the downfall of lobbying is a catastrophic problem to the American public while others argue that lobbying creates a healthy relationship between the American public, companies, and the government that complies with the US constitution. In order to determine what action should be taken regarding the act of lobbying, one should question if the act should be outlawed entirely, remain in its current legal state, or reformed. When Jack Abramoff was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to prison in 2006, the act of lobbying was thrown into the national spotlight. The primary duty of a lobbyist is to meet with lawmakers and their staffers on a regular basis. During these meetings valuable information is shared regarding specific issues. This allows a lobbyist to be in a situation were a politician would feel comfortable accepting gifts in return for a vote on legislation. Many lawmakers heavily rely on lobbyists to provide vital information when writing legislation. John Kenneth White, a political scientist at Catholic University in Washington expresses how essential the act of lobbying is for politicians while in the process of writing legislation when he says: “They are not only necessary but inevitable” and “The founding fathers fully expected interest groups to organize to defend their property interest (Katel).” The act of lobbying can be defined as the pursuit of influencing public officials on behalf of or against (Lobbyist). Professional lobbyists are people whose business consists of influencing legislation on behalf of a group or individual whom hires them. A major part of influencing legislation is providing politicians with valuable information regarding the issue. The act of lobbying has been present in American politics since the eighteen hundreds. Lobbyists believe their profession is morally ethical and benefits America as a whole (Katel). It is fairly easy for one to become a lobbyist. The first step of doing so is to establish which field or fields of lobbying appeals most to oneself. Most lobbyists have backgrounds in education, politics, and a field of interest which they intend to lobby behalf on. Most lobbyists begin working on as small of a scale as possible and work their way up the ladder in a progressive fashion. The act of lobbying can be found in every level of American politics. Instead of intending on being asked to represent a company, most lobbyists actively ask businesses if their services are needed. If asked to lobby before congress on a federal level with a salary that is equivalent or exceeds $6,000, one must register their lobbying intentions via the lobbying disclosure office in order to become a legally practicing lobbyist (Casino). Lobbyists have a phenomenal amount of power in politics that creates a lob-sided influence of power. A primary reason why this is true is because a vote on legislation is often rewarded to the lobbyist that is willing to pay the largest sum of money. The greater a lobbyist has access to resources, the greater influence and power a lobbyist is able to obtain (Katel). This creates an undesirable scenario where greed is the backbone to modern politics. On April 2, 2013 congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government up until September 2013. Lodged deep in this particular bill was a law that forces the department of agriculture to refrain from penalizing or challenging companies that genetically modify food (Herman). This bill protects companies that genetically modify food from being penalized for illicit acts but at the same time the American public is left to deal with a genetically modified food market that is being loosely monitored and could potentially be harmful for ones health. This incident wouldn’t be possible if...
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