Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reform lobbying

Currently you need to disclose your pay if you are a lobbyist if you get paid above $3,000 in a one year period, if you lobby more than one client, and only if you spend 20% or more of your time lobbying for a single client.

The first two are easy to determine, but the second one is harder if a lobbyist works for 10 clients or so, and I don't think it is a fair requirement.

Instead of using these three ways, we should change lobbying like the following:

New rules for lobbying:
1. No Individual, corporation, or any organization may make donations to political campaigns. All campaigns for federal office will be publicly financed.
2. Access to senators and representatives will be on the basis of two measures. The first determinant will be whether they are your representative. Constituents will always have priority over non-constituents in selecting their appointment time. People who have seen the representative or senator less will be able to pick first in their registration time, and people who have seen the representative or senator the most will pick their appointment last. Appointment slots will be filled 7 days in advance so meetings will be relevant and people have time to make it to DC. This will be filled so that everyone will rank the time slots they want, and the time slot will be given to the person with the most precedence. If two people who have seen the representative/senator the same amount and are both constituents have the same slot the person who registered first will have priority.

This will encourage lobbyists to attend public committee hearings to present their cases. Hearings will have equal opportunity giving precedence to people who have spoke to the committee less so that occasional speakers have the ability to speak and professional lobbyists speak last as their is time. People with prepared posters have five minutes, and other people have two minutes. Hearings will be no less than three hours. Committees will have speaking order alternate between people who favour the proposition is on the table and those who oppose it to make sure both sides can be heard. All hearings on legislation must be publicly broadcast.

Any public official who is caught making back room deals or accepting money from someone while in office or officially running for office will be guilty of a first degree felony punishable by a fine worth ten times the bribe, five years prison with no parole, will lose suffrage for life, will be barred from government employment and running for public office for life, and will lose their access to meetings with government officials for life.

A bribe is defined as any amount of money given to a public official or candidate or campaign for public office by another person.

New Zealand has these types of rules for finance and they are the least corrupt country in the world.

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