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I'm puzzled by which end of the telescope we should be looking through. It seems to me that the K Street Project is the dog; Congress is the tail.

Power is most effective when located at a single point. Political power is closely associated with whoever raises the most money. Norquist on the "outside" and Delay on the "inside" understood that by demanding that their corporate supporters centralize their funding, they could discipline the Congress.

Notwithstanding Mark's technically sound ethical argument, individual members of Congress cannot be expected to stand up to that sort of power.


There are several brands of grease on the slippery slope that would put our representatives in the hands of special interests. One is money for campaigning; another is administrative help in drafting and researching and politicking; another is flattery--which includes the wining and dining and jetting--and then only the most notorious of the greases is the plain old bribe. All but the notorious one enable representatives to compete more effectively against other representatives for influence in Congress and against would-be candidates to take their place in the next election. I think that's the primary allure of these greases. Campaign money for a better campaign. More administrative help to appear smarter and more productive and better connected. Dependency on these things is a natural result of failing to regulate competition--allowing a fight without rules. Or we have rules, like the airport screeners had rules before they realized box cutters were something to worry about, but the rules, naturally enough, have become out of date. Let's not look only for stop-gap rules. Maybe sticks and carrots closer to the source of the ethical breach would be more effective. Carrot-wise: What if we gave representatives money for more staff? Bigger offices to house more volunteers? Stick-wise: What if we expressly acknowledge administrative help as a tool of combat and place limits on person-hours?

A Alexander Stella

Thanks to my perusing your blog, specifically, "The Decembrist" (so, you know some Russian history), I have arrived at what I believe is a defensible inference. Both you and your readers would welcome news of in-your-face overt opposition to your "smirking chimp", my "dum'ya botch".

In plainer terms, I want to run for Representative for Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District on a platform calling for the impeachment of President George Walker Bush.

Incidentally, I deliberately referred to your blog, to indicate that I visited your blog as an individual, and not as a spammer. Yes, that last is an illustion to a "pre-deconstruction" chick flick with a rating of two and a half hankies.

Ah, before you click on any of the enclosed hyperlinks, please read the entirely of my comment. For example, the three planks I nailed together in my platform out to get me elected. "impeach bush" is the first plank. The second is "impeach bush". The third is like the second, "impeach bush".

To continue, the first hyperlink below leads to the opening salvo of my campaign.


As for the second hyperlink, it leads to evidence that my candidacy is about more than opposition solely for the sake of opposition.


.he who is known as sefton


To sum up, Boehner is lying - after 1994, any lobbyist who was a mystery wasn't allowed through the doors on Capital Hill. I think that you might want to rewrite your article to lead with that thesis.


Who exactly is supposed to register as a lobbyist? We tend to think of lobbyists as nefarious people with lots of money to burn who work for big corporations. Are these the only ones who have to register as lobbyists.

If you work for the Sierra Club or NAMI and you lobby on behalf of environmental legislation or mental health issues, are you a lobbyist then too? (I don't think that NAMI splurges for fancy trips, but they do meet with legislators and try to convince them of their position, and they are acting in a professional capacity, i.e., they're not just citizens.

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