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Corporate lobbyists

"Change Congress" Movement Aims to Ban Corporate Lobbyists in Washington

Sunday, November 02, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: corporate lobbyists, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) Stanford University law professor and Creative Commons founder Larry Lessig has launched a new effort to remove the influence of money from politics.

Called "Change Congress," the campaign seeks an end to all contributions to politicians by lobbyists or political action committees (PACs); an end to earmarked funding in federal spending bills, which politicians often use to advance their own pet projects; public financing of all congressional campaigns; and transparency in the funding process.

"My claim here is not some simple claim against money or the importance of money," Lessig said. "We just need to recognize that money in certain places is destructive of trust."

According to Lessig, an institutionalized dependence on private money has corrupted the political process.

"It's not a dependence that reveals itself in the way evil people act, but a dependence that corrupts even the way good people solve the problems they come to Washington to address," he said. "We need to solve this problem now."

As examples, Lessig cited the disproportionate influence that the pharmaceutical industry has on federal drug policy, that the sugar industry has on federal nutrition standards, and that the energy industry has on global warming policy.

For the first phase of the project, a Change Congress Web site has been launched that encourages citizens and politicians to sign on in support of one or more of the campaign's four goals, or "pillars." Supporters are also encouraged to advertise the campaign on their Web sites.

The web site includes a "sludge-colored" map that reveals what percentage of each congressperson's money comes from PAC donations. In the second phase of the project, Lessig hopes to expand this information by allowing users to upload information about where different congresspeople and candidates stand on the four pillars. This information could then be plotted out on the map.

In a third phase, Change Congress would ask people to donate to candidates who have pledged support for the four pillars.

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