Ah, another “hot one” in the Great Republic of Texas… and as the black coffee flows this morning, I offer up my homegrown perspective for your consideration. Special Interest Lobbying; is it just legalized “bribery and corruption”?
A topic of controversy for certain and a “bone of contention” for me. The word advocacy brings about many different visions in our heads, but what exactly does the word mean;
It is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.
It can include activities and publications that are intended to influence public policy making, including laws and budgets. It uses facts (that is an ambiguous term today), their relationships, the media (they have become a two-edged sword) and messaging to educate government officials and the public.
Lobbying today, is the “legalized” form of advocacy. It is conducted by a government registered individual or group that takes a direct approach, contacting the legislators on specific issues or legislation. The only way to become a lobbyist or lobbyist group, is by asking the government’s permission (creating a 501(c) designated corporation) and securing the appropriate credentials. To speak directly to a legislator, you MUST be registered at the state and federal levels. There are laws that restrict bribery and corruption, but as the saying goes; Laws are meant to broken.
Special Interest lobbying or advocating is a protected right of the people, under the section of the First Amendment that addresses; the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
James Madison addressed special interest lobbying in “The Federalist” No. 10 (1787). I’ll include some highlights from his work in this article, but I encourage those who haven’t read it, to do so. If you want to see just how far the corruption and graft has embedded itself within the “lobbyist” organizations and our government, then we have to go back to a time that was “more” pure.
“AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.” (As a constructed union of people, we should always be vigilant to anything that would usurp the sovereignty of the individual).
The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished. (the “special interests” of human nature can be and is often the corruption of all governments).
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. (A faction is a group of people, united upon opinions or passions that is adverse to the rights of other people.)
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice. (It is the common nature of man to form differing opinions).
The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects. (Factions or differing opinions will never end, so controlling its effects is the most important aspect).
The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended. (The difference between a wholly democratic government and the Republic upon which we stand was defined by our Founders.)
This next part I couldn’t condense, it must be read verbatim, because it proves that our Founders understood what could happen if we let the opinions of the few, influence or gain power over the many.
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
Madison understood that as we grew into a much larger country, controlling the effects of human nature upon our elected officials would always fall upon the shoulders of the people themselves. It is and always will be our job to “keep the wolves out of the pasture”.
We cannot let it fall to the corporations, or money becomes the temptation. We cannot let it fall to the politicians themselves, or fame becomes the temptation. It must always fall upon the PEOPLE, and LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS for all, equally. That alone, must always be the impetus and motivation. Anything that doesn’t uphold the natural, unalienable and protected rights of the sovereign citizens is a lie created to change the structure of our great Republic.
Madison’s essay simply states; Factions or groups of citizens will rise up and be contrived of private ends that contradicts public interest. He understood that factions were and will always be a natural outgrowth of a “free society”. That the democratic (small d) process involves diverse interests and often conflicting views on public policy, and as such he focused his essay upon controlling the potentially dangerous effects of these factions.
The system of lobbying or advocating that our Founders intended, worked for years. Yes, we had corporations trying to exhort the working-class citizens. And WE overcame them by “demanding” better. Yes, the “church” worked the system, creating “blue laws” and forcing prohibition. We managed to overcome many of those unconstitutional laws as well. Organized crime gamed the system, bribing weak-minded, dishonest politicians. And we prevailed again… didn’t we?
Corruption exists in politics. We have overcome corrupt politicians via the ballot box, but often it isn’t soon enough to limit the extent of their damage. Once upon a time they were removed from office “tarred and feathered upon a rail”, as we cut the cancer out before it festered and destroyed our Republic. Maybe we should bring it back?
Corruption still and always will exist. Human nature is human nature… It will game the system, and the system will be gamed. It will gain trust and it will betray trust. It will deceive We the People, and We the People will be deceived. So what happened to the system that “kinda” worked?
Enter into that purity, the clever politician and Progressivism. This is where most people will stop reading, but I encourage you to continue. I challenge you to continue… this is where it started. And knowing when, where and how it entered our Republic, is the only way of knowing the cure.
In the early part of the 20th century Progressivism emerged on the scene and was introduced into our Constitutional Republic. A philosophical form of political ideology, born out of the minds of “great” thinkers in the 1800s such as; John Stuart Mill, Benjamin Disraeli, Immanuel Kant, John Dewey and ultimately Karl Marx (many will argue his addition, but their opinions don’t make it truth).
Progress — the theory that you can get something for nothing; the theory that you can gain in one field without paying for your gain in another; the theory that you alone understand the meaning of history; the theory that you know what’s going to happen fifty years from now; the theory that, in the teeth of all experience, you can foresee all the consequences of your present actions; the theory that Utopia lies just ahead and that, since ideal ends justify the most abominable means, it is your privilege and duty to rob, swindle, torture, enslave and murder all those who, in your opinion (which is, by definition, infallible), obstruct the onward march to the earthly paradise.
This new concept was introduced to the “people” by trustworthy Uncle Teddy Roosevelt (a rough and tumble kind of guy) who was born into wealth and privilege. A man who the “media” portrayed as a common, everyday hero, who could relate to the common folk. He was far removed from anything common, but he is the one who tested the waters under the guise of the Republican Party (later called the Progressive Party).
It then started to take shape under the Wilson administration in the form of his New Freedom (Progressivism) domestic agenda and invasive regulation of trusts. The first prominent act was initiated shortly after he took office as he utilized the newly passed 16th Amendment to create our Federal INCOME TAX through the Revenue Act of 1913.
It was our first real glimpse at Progressivism in action. It all seemed good for the people, because Progressivism takes on corporate greed (or so it seems from the outside), but does it really support our rights or does it change how we view those rights? A topic for another day maybe, so we’ll stay on track.
I would be remiss not to add; it was these policies that would give birth to the very first “legal” corporate loopholes. Gaps that would require an even greater need for more aggressive policies. Thus the resultant effect of the government trying to “control” us, created the economic collapse of 1929. It was their fault, yet We the People paid the price for their greed, as we suffered through years of economic devastation. So they created more laws to “save” us from their greed.
The war explodes upon us, restoring faith in our fellow man, and as was war typically does; it made our government fat and the people happy. Now it was time to push more restrictive and progressive laws (while the people weren’t paying attention), by passing The Revenue Act of 1954, establishing the modern tax codes.
We have to have laws to regulate laws, right? This act gave birth to the modern day non-profit organization through section 501(c) of the IRC. It stated that in order to continue enjoying tax-exempt status, a non-profit “corporation” MUST be organized and operated purely for nonprofit. It was also the end of community-based churches and the purity of special interests.
Forcing corporations to comply and adhere to government restrictions would certainly benefit the people. Making them more accountable to us, by opening their books had to make it better, right?
Let’s just say it made it all legal, I’m not so sure it made anything better for We the People. The moment the government set forth these regulations, was the moment rich men could pay smart men to find the more lucrative and legal “loopholes”. Corporate greed was nothing new to us, but I’m not talking just corporate greed anymore.
I’m talking about how they were legally handed keys to the political back door in DC (remember Madison’s words: “will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it;“). In other words; Keep that crap in your own state and squash it there. The keys to DC are the recently retired public servants, who were offered a much more lucrative retirement than their government pensions could ever provide. And the greedy corporate lobbyist was born. Special interests, got a lot more interesting, but only if you had a high enough “pay” grade.
Until this point, our political realm kind of “balanced” itself out. Both the conservative and liberal agendas coexisted. We had a progressive democratic approach (even though it created a “forced” charity) allowed the conservative republican approach (maintaining the “separations of power”) still allowed for true bipartisan politics to work for the People. This amalgamation was layered between differing administrations, allowing for a more connected judicial and legislative balance (true statesmanship), but then we entered the tumultuous 60s….
A period of political and social upheaval, so severe that politicians feigned allegiances while selling them out to the highest bidder with contradictory (and in some instances downright treasonous) decisions. We had racial divide, establishment divide, social divide and economic divide. We wanted to give peace a chance… and we wanted explore our minds. We the People were at odds with each other, and the “chink in the armor” of the great Republic was exploited.
We had strong Conservatism in a head on clash with radicalized Progressive Liberalism. The stage had been set through the insertion of progressive legislation, and the only thing that would come out of the 60s alive, were the corporations. Before you say it; please note that I’m a free market capitalist. Just keep in mind that true American capitalism can only work when all sides of the field are equal and We the People decide upon who’s successful and who’s not.
These progressive laws of our past would soon revisit this newly restructured form of We the People, and our governance would be changed forever. Gone was the Founders true intent (a Constitutional Republic) as we ushered in the birth of “legalized” corruption and graft (a Socio-Communistic/Constitutionally Democractic-esque amalgamation), that made us all feel like we still had “rights”.
21st Century Special Interest lobbying is flushing our Constitutional Republic down the drain via the social and technological construct of the internet. The faction has gained center stage and is theatrically redefining our Constitutional Republic into a boiling pot of socially progressive soup. The “monster” has turned on it handlers, and dinner is about to be served.
It is destroying the cornerstones of our Republic through narcissistic sociopaths that have sold out their public contributions for the lure of a cushy retirement. These corrupt, out-dated public servants handed over the keys to our birthrights, for book deals and speaking engagements. Under the guise of legalized Special Interests; greed came to town and it is devouring the people.
This was the reason I created what we like to call around here as; An unapologetic For-Profit advocacy. We don’t beg for your membership dollars. We don’t accept money from “big corporations”. We don’t rely on backdoor deals with politicians. And we don’t hide behind the veil of “professional” lobbyists.
We are common, everyday folk. Veterans and public servants. Blue collar workers from Texas, South Carolina, Michigan and Indiana. We come from middle-class families that struggled to survive.
We sell a product that people can afford and in return we use those profits to fund our advocacy efforts. We try to EDUCATE and MOTIVATE (through website, social, written and video media) to get YOU to ADVOCATE for yourself. We testify locally at our state levels. We support small grassroots advocates. We encourage you to get more involved in politics.
It would’ve been easier to form a “non-profit”, claim our tax-free status and use the government loopholes, but we would rather pay the government than to have them control what we can do and say. I assure you, the only thing we do different than most non-profit advocacy’s, is pay income tax on every dime that comes through our doors and say what We the People have been saying for years; We want to live like FREE men and women, once again.
I get that trusting a big non-profit corporation just seems more legit, but I promise the majority of these corporations are just out to make money. They are more concerned about the dollars and cents, than they are about your rights.
That’s not to say they are ALL bad, but at a certain point, they are forced to play the game our government has dictated. A government who changes the rules to the game, every other administration. Corruption, graft and bribery is the game, and it goes by the name of; Special Interest Lobbying.
We just want you more engaged in the process throughout the entire way. We offer our perspectives and truths. We shine the light upon the tenets of our Founders, offering up the true, defined history behind our UNALIENABLE, CREATOR-BESTOWED, GOVERNMENT PROTECTED NATURAL-BORN RIGHTS. We point out the flaws in our modern day system and how we have come to this point in our history.
I also want you to remember, I’m just an imperfect guy who has made a lot of mistakes along the way. Every road has been a hard one for me, and every lesson has taken its toll… but through the grace of my perfect Christ, He has shown me how to refine the bad decisions of my past, and choose better ones for the future. It’s a freewill decision… and it might not be for you right now and I get it. I only encourage you to find the relationship with Him that I have found.
It’s not always a perfect relationship, because I fail… but He has NEVER failed me. Failure in the moment, does not mean failure for life. Knowing the truth behind our failures, is what allows us to find future success. So let’s bootstrap our Nation into a future of prosperity through true Liberty and Freedom for ALL.
Thanks for following along with my perspective… I hope you have a great day and please; “Just think about it”.