Show #54 Inclusionism: How to Kill Bill S2E3

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Sep 19 2020 61 mins  

James Felton Keith & Peter Willumsen are back from the campaign trail in NY-13 to talk about a new generation of advocates and political activism to make progressivism more equitable, ethical and inclusive.

Series 2: How to Kill Bill

Episode 3: Public comment, what is it, who comments

  • Lobbying - what is it? Contact and communication with legislators or regulators on behalf of a client
    • Rises under R admins, falls under D
    • Surges post Gingrich revolution in 1996
    • Largest spenders are biggest industries in the US - spend money to make money and one way to do so is influence the rules of the road
    • Disclosure of funding is mandated but if no one can hear the voice of concern over the sound of lobby money, what good is disclosure?
  • Congressional Research Service - The think tank of Congress
    • Supposed to provide subject matter expertise on all areas of possible legislation, non-partisan and empirically based
    • Supposed to also support Congress in oversight responsibilities, played major role in Watergate and White Water investigations
    • One was a real scandal the other was manufactured
    • Post Gingrich revolution both Congressional committee staff and CRS staff cut dramatically, the people's advocate and subject matter experts are purged from government
    • in 2016 Of the approximately 62,000 requests for help from Congress, the vast proportion—about 52,000, or 83%—come from congressional staff and were satisfied via email or telephone calls,  which is indicative of the rudimentary nature of so many of the congressional inquiries
    • From the people's think tank to lazy staffers Google service
  • Rise of ALEC, Federalist Society, Americans for Prosperity
    • with no more staff or their own researchers, Congress looked to private sector for subject matter expertise and bill writing
    • ALEC worked primarily with state legislatures that have even fewer resources
    • ALEC gave copy and paste bills that were turned into law, laws written for the interests of ALEC's members, wealthy businesses
    • In its own words: The American Legislative Exchange Council is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Comprised of nearly one-quarter of the country’s state legislators and stakeholders from across the policy spectrum
    • Non-partisans who all happen to agree on a set a policy assumptions
      ALEC is currently lobbying against Federal money going to states to help budgets, that means they favor money in the pockets of the wealthy over social services for the many
    • FedSoc does the same work for judges, claims to be non-partisan, just happen to all agree on political questions and judicial policies
    • AFP is a tax exempt org that funnels undisclosed donors money into politics
  • Corporations and conservatives got rid of funding for non-interested parties to have a say in the legislative process and made it a pay to play situation
  • Money begets money and all under the guise of free speech
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