Posted by: maroonmaurader | January 26, 2010

Lobbyists and campaign finance

I imagine someone else has already raised this point because it’s precisely the sort of slick, counter-intuitive, and likely false argument which people tend to point out due to a contrary nature, for a laugh, or as a smokescreen… but because I haven’t seen that other person’s argument, I’ll make it myself.

Following the recent ruling on corporate donation limits, various pundits, talking heads, respected thinkers, demagogues, etc. etc. have asserted that it represents a serious blow to democracy. But a corporation has to spend money to influence the legislative process to it’s benefit. It can spend that money on ads in campaigns, thus helping elect representatives favorably inclined to their interests and winning goodwill from said representatives, or it can spend that money on lobbyists after the campaigns are over; a dollar spent on one is a dollar that cannot be spent on the other. I wonder whether voters are better off with the former or the latter.

Campaign donations seem likely to be somewhat more effective at changing legislation (I presume, because otherwise it seems like an issue nobody should have cared about). On the other hand, lobbyists writing legislation seems like it would have a greater effect on how invested citizens are in the democratic process, how transparent government is, and various other accepted “problems” with the state of affairs.



  1. […] Would Keith Say? I’m not sure MM’s “defense” of Citizens United is apostate enough to warrant his hiding it beneath a torturous disclaimer and […]

  2. […] 27, 2010 by captainfalcon Earlier, MM alluded to Citizens United without explaining it. I’m going to discuss it at marginally greater […]

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