Asking for lobbyist donations=bribe?

Recording of Eleanor Holmes Norton asking a lobbyist for a political donation

It seems shady at best but what’s your thoughts on it? I’m not familiar with the political process of campaign fundraising and what it entails.

Unless she adds that a contribution might influence her vote, there is nothing at all illiegal with asking for a contribution. Politicians do it many times every single day.

And the system condones it.

However if a cop asks for a contribution to the Police Benevolent Fund without adding that it will not influence his decision whether to issue a citation…

Our entire campaign finance system is built on people running for office making thousands of phone calls just like that to lobbyists, lawyers, doctors, industrialists, bankers, gun owners, animal right activists, veterans, tech entrepreneurs, teachers, union leaders, entertainers, casino owners, health insurance executives, fast food franchisees, small business owners, women, religious leaders, sports team owners… and even other politicians. I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about that voicemail at all.

And keep in mind the story is three years old and most legal experts (as opposed to political pundits/bloggers/whatever) who were asked for comment have basically said there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. Also, since three years have passed and there hasn’t been any apparent investigation by the Ethics Committee, one can safely assume that no rules or laws were broken.

The biggest question here is: how the hell do people think politicians raise money? They make phone calls to people with money and ask for contributions. If you don’t want publicly financed elections, this is what you get. I’m not saying that as a threat; I’m literally saying that if you want people to raise money to run for office, candidates are going to call people and ask for money. It’s as simple as that.

A cop is not a politician who needs to raise funds to be re-elected to his job.

I think a considerable number of people are under the assumption that it is the lobbyists who offer the donations first, and the politicians then change their stances to conform to the lobbyists’ positions, rather than the politicians going out to the lobbyists… That’s why they’re called “lobbyists”; they lobby the politicians - not the other way around.

If the politician is asking for money from an organization where the politician is known to already agree with them, then it’s not really a problem. Now, if Barbara Boxer were to ask for money from an organization that wants more nuclear power plants in California, or Elizabeth Warren from an organization representing large banks, on the other hand, then you’ve got a story.

No, you don’t. Only if she changes her voting pattern about nuclear power after taking the money do you have a story.

If they give her money, and her votes don’t change, then maybe SHE’s got a story – “I’m such a good legislator that the nuclear industry supports me against my competitor even when I vote against legislation they support!” Unlikely to happen, of course.

“You like how I voted last month? Yeah, da first one’s free. Nice little exemption I got you, dere; be a shame if anything – happened to it.”

It does work both ways though. Shakedowns of deep pocketed corporations are common and easy to do: just make a lot of noise about regulating this or that industry, in the public interest of course, and then some campaign donations make the politicians decide that maybe it’s not such an urgent need after all.

Just look at the history of Wal-mart’s involvement in politics. As the campaign against Wal-mart has escalated, so has their lobbying. It’s a big shakedown.

The legal issue for bribery is quid pro quo, that is, is something specific like a vote on an upcoming piece of legislation being offered in exchange for money.

All but the stupidest politicians know that’s not how you play the game. Your staff has a list of the people and organizations who have an interest in Resolution A. They call them and ask for donations. They do not make any promises with regard to Resolution A, they might mention it in passing or not. The donors know how the politician stands on Resolution A, they contribute if they want to/can but do not make it a condition that they vote right on Resolution A to get the money, though they might mention their interest in the resolution and approval of how the politician has voted in the past. No quid pro quo you see, all legal and aboveboard.

But make no mistake about it, money has been exchanged for a vote here.


Do you have an actual instance of someone voting for regulations involving Walmart, getting donations from Walmart, and then voting to repeal those regulations?

Do you have an actual instance of this happening?

The last twenty years in Congress?

What Evil Captor is failing to even mention is the biggest scandal that nobody acknowledges.

Congressman A gets elected. He votes for Bill 1234, which is supported by his constituents. Then at the next election, Congressman A tells his constituents that he voted FOR Bill 1234, and then those constituents vote for Congressman A! It’s one hand washing the other; one vote is being traded for MANY votes.

It’s like we don’t even live in a democracy anymore with this corrupting revolving door of people being elected and then doing things that voters like, just to get elected all over again. The fact that supporters of someone express their support by giving support, makes me so sick I want to vomit.

I for one favor sortition.

Wait, did you seriously just equate taking money to winning votes?

Where is, “one dollar, one vote,” in our constitution, again?

Yes, it is incredibly shocking that votes are pursued by politicians just like they were campaign contributions. Why hasn’t anybody done a documentary on the lengths that politicians go to garner votes? I have it on good authority that politicians will change their positions on issues just because people don’t want them to vote a particular way… where is the outrage!!!

You apparently do not understand the difference between democracy and oligarchy. I cannot say I am surprised.

I keep reading and rereading this trying to figure out how your satire is supposed to work. Of course trying to get votes is okay; of course it’s nothing like trying to get campaign contributions. Break it down, how is your satire supposed to work?

It’s all one big mess of politicians getting support from people who agree with them. Who is to say where the ethical lines are being crossed? Do unions support Democrats because the unions get something out of it? Or do Democrats support unions because the Democrats get something out of it? We just can’t have politicians telling people what good they are doing for their constituencies, because that is an unfair way to gain the support of the constituencies.