Friday, January 4, 2008

Lobbying Is Good

Charlie Rangel, as reported by George Will:
"I really think lobbying is a good goddamn thing."

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that lobbying is essential for the production of good legislation. Without it congresspeople simply aren't well enough informed to avoid even the most obvious unintended consequences. But there is also no doubt that lobbying invites corruption and various other unsavory forms of quid pro quo. The trick is to make the lobbyists' feedback transparent.

Which brings me back to this post from November. As a throwaway, I had proposed making all contacts with legislators, outside of those with their immediate families, public record. This may not be workable. It certainly would have constitutional issues, especially given that the Supreme Court has established a right to privacy. But there ought to be a way to make this workable.

Transparency will solve the problems associated with lobbying better than McCain-Feingold could ever hope to.

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