Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Feb 2013 22:28 UTC, submitted by bowkota
In the News "The last time we looked at Silicon Valley's lobbying efforts, Google was the big spender and Apple the piker. That hasn't changed much in the past nine months. In fact, Google increased its political spending in 2012 - a Presidential election year - by nearly 90%, while Apple reduced its by 13%." Anti-SOPA or no, that's a hell of a lot of money. This should be illegal - it's thinly veiled corruption.
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not veiled at all
by tomz on Mon 18th Feb 2013 22:58 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

The whole system is corrupt.

If Google didn't lobby, then their enemies would and are already winning some things.

Do you want to repeal the 17th amendment yet?

Unilateral disarmament is suicide.

If ANY corporation starts lobbying, the rest must.

Reply Score: 4

RE: not veiled at all
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Feb 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "not veiled at all"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Repeal the 17th? Heck no. My state is *more* corrupt than the Federal government. All of the gerrymandering that takes place to form the US house also exists at the state level. The direct election of senators is the one thing that results in good representation of my state.

I don't really understand why anyone would think that removing that direct link would be a good idea. The only think that makes sense to me, is that you prefer the way your state government is elected (gerymandering and all) than what a direct vote of all citizens. The only way you would like that is if it results in politics that you prefer. I'm a bit idealistic in that I prefer that the process is fair, more than I prefer that I have my way.

But I do agree with the rest of your argument.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: not veiled at all
by Chris_G on Tue 19th Feb 2013 02:19 UTC in reply to "RE: not veiled at all"
Chris_G Member since:
2012-10-25

Amen! Before Senators were popularly elected, the position was often given to those who made the largest contributions to state government electoral campaigns. These were people who contributed with the expressed understanding that they would be rewarded with a seat for doing so. It was unspeakably more corrupt than what we have now.

And, for the record, the great majority of Senators were popularly elected (by the state governments' choice) at the time the amendment was passed. That's the only reason it did pass.

Edited 2013-02-19 02:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: not veiled at all
by twitterfire on Tue 19th Feb 2013 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE: not veiled at all"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Repeal the 17th? Heck no. My state is *more* corrupt than the Federal government. All of the gerrymandering that takes place to form the US house also exists at the state level. The direct election of senators is the one thing that results in good representation of my state.


You know guys, I know you invented democracy, are the leaders of the free world and bla, bla, but you can, for instance, try to follow EU footsteps and vote directly for members of parliament and for the president, instead of resorting to weird algorithms and gerrymandering.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: not veiled at all
by jackastor on Tue 19th Feb 2013 15:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: not veiled at all"
jackastor Member since:
2009-05-05

Lol "weird algorithms" NAILED IT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: not veiled at all
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th Feb 2013 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: not veiled at all"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I would love to do that. We'd be much better off if we did. For such a young country historically speaking, we tend to deify our traditional quirks. We tend to judge the means by the outcome, if my party is in power than the process is great!

Reply Score: 3

Corruption
by bowkota on Mon 18th Feb 2013 23:16 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

This should be illegal - it's thinly veiled corruption.

It pretty much is
Here's the definition on Wikipedia.

Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies

If that isn't a form of corruption then I don't know what is. The only upside to this is that it's a bit more open than the alternative. There's very detailed info on opensecrets.org.

Furthermore, quite a few of these tech companies spend money for the advancement of science and technology (obviously because it's in their interest but it's still a positive outcome).

Edited 2013-02-18 23:17 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Corruption
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 18th Feb 2013 23:25 UTC in reply to "Corruption"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No corruption is actually buying their votes. Lobbying ( if done in a legal manner) is just supposed to be arguing for a policy position with only the carrot/stick of re-election. It is a bit unfair, in that the wealthy are heard much louder than those without the means.

Real corruption is more quid pro quo. Hey, you! Vote my way and I'll drop an envelop of unmarked bills on your doorstep.

Sadly, that's only slightly worse than what is really legal now. Hey, you! vote my way and I'll set up a super pac to support your next election, fueled by unlimited cash to make up slanderous claims against your opponent! Its really citizens united that needs to be repealed more than anything else right now.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Corruption
by kwan_e on Tue 19th Feb 2013 01:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Corruption"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

No corruption is actually buying their votes. Lobbying ( if done in a legal manner) is just supposed to be arguing for a policy position with only the carrot/stick of re-election. It is a bit unfair, in that the wealthy are heard much louder than those without the means.

Real corruption is more quid pro quo.


As a society, we should be evolving towards better government, which means raising the standard for what is considered "uncorrupted".

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Corruption
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th Feb 2013 04:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Corruption"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Unfortuantly, the tide is headed out the other direction. If we could just get back to the level of corruption we had 20 years ago, it would be a vast improvement.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Corruption
by WorknMan on Tue 19th Feb 2013 05:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Corruption"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

As a society, we should be evolving towards better government, which means raising the standard for what is considered "uncorrupted".


Do you think that's possible? What you're asking for are people who are qualified to be in the government, who cannot be bought. That seems like a tall order, since there aren't many people like that. And even if we could find some, we'd have to get them elected without using the media, because the media is owned by those who would never allow such a thing to take place under their watch.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Corruption
by kwan_e on Tue 19th Feb 2013 07:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Corruption"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"As a society, we should be evolving towards better government, which means raising the standard for what is considered "uncorrupted".


Do you think that's possible?
"

That doesn't mean higher standards don't exist or that we shouldn't aim towards them...

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Corruption
by l3v1 on Tue 19th Feb 2013 10:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Corruption"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

arguing for a policy


Yeah, I don't think they originally intended arguing to mean that the argument with the more money backing should win.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Corruption
by twitterfire on Tue 19th Feb 2013 14:38 UTC in reply to "Corruption"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


If that isn't a form of corruption then I don't know what is.


In US spending money to influence politicians and government officials is lobbying and legal. In EU the same thing is illegal and called corruption.

It might be just a small cultural difference. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Corruption
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 22nd Feb 2013 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Corruption"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"
If that isn't a form of corruption then I don't know what is.


In US spending money to influence politicians and government officials is lobbying and legal. In EU the same thing is illegal and called corruption.

It might be just a small cultural difference. ;)
"

If you honestly believe that there aren't any lobbyists in the EU, then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you... no cheques, cash only.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Corruption
by twitterfire on Tue 19th Feb 2013 14:40 UTC in reply to "Corruption"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


Furthermore, quite a few of these tech companies spend money for the advancement of science and technology (obviously because it's in their interest but it's still a positive outcome).


How much money did Apple, the biggest "tech" company spent for the advancement of science and technology?

Or should we call Apple a "design" company, a "fake patent" company and not a "tech" company?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Corruption
by bowkota on Tue 19th Feb 2013 17:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Corruption"
bowkota Member since:
2011-10-12

"
Furthermore, quite a few of these tech companies spend money for the advancement of science and technology (obviously because it's in their interest but it's still a positive outcome).


How much money did Apple, the biggest "tech" company spent for the advancement of science and technology?

Or should we call Apple a "design" company, a "fake patent" company and not a "tech" company?
"

I'm sorry but if you're arguing that Apple hasn't done anything for the advancement of science and tech than you're just as stupid as anyone who would argue the same for Google.

Just look at the original story linked, there's plenty of reasonable examples there.

Reply Score: 2

Thanks for the scoop, Rip van Winkle.
by tidux on Tue 19th Feb 2013 01:19 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

The undue influence of money on politics in the US has been a major story for years. I guess it's now gotten to the point that European tech writers are noticing.

Reply Score: 3

Government by Lobby
by benali72 on Tue 19th Feb 2013 03:21 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

That large contributors like Google contribute millions to both political parties indicates a corrupted political system. They're not trying to influence legislation, they're trying to buy protection.

Legislation can no longer be passed in the US without the agreement of the companies affected. The Citizens United decision is at the root of the problem.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Government by Lobby
by unheeding on Tue 19th Feb 2013 05:03 UTC in reply to "Government by Lobby"
unheeding Member since:
2013-02-08

If money is speech, shouldn't prostitution be legal? After all, it's not against the law to use your speech to convince someone to have sex with you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Government by Lobby
by gan17 on Tue 19th Feb 2013 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Government by Lobby"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Get a former hooker/pimp into the government/senate.
The only reason lobbying is legal (in any country that allows it, not just the US) is because the ones taking the bribes are the ones making the laws.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Government by Lobby
by MyNameIsNot4Letter on Tue 19th Feb 2013 12:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Government by Lobby"
MyNameIsNot4Letter Member since:
2011-01-09

Then it's no longer prostitution.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Tue 19th Feb 2013 11:16 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Pardon me dear gentlemen, but shouldn't we first and foremost blame the citizens who vote (again and again) for candidates who officially accept "donations" from for-profit corps? It's like the guy who sold the Eifel tower to another guy. Shouldn't we blame the "another guy" first and foremost for getting duped into a con like that?
If a candidate accepts "donatioms", don't vote for him/her. If everybody did that, "donations" would have to be under the table, which is unethical and probably illegal.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Tue 19th Feb 2013 15:19 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

"Pardon me dear gentlemen, but shouldn't we first and foremost blame the citizens who vote (again and again) for candidates who officially accept 'donations' from for-profit corps?"

I understand the sentiment, but at the same time it's sort of naive. Politics is a millionaires game. Unless you are independently wealthy or have some corporate sponsors, you're out. In principal many of us are against corruption and grey political "donations", but such campaigns are at such an economic disadvantage that they rule themselves out of the race. It sucks, but it's Darwinism at work, politicians who reject corporate funds are poorer and inherently much weaker than those who use them.


Go ahead and criticize the voters, but at the same time unless you can propose a general solution to even out the playing field, it will not change. Do you have an answer to the problem of how to give more representation to those who cannot afford it?

This is a widely recognized problem in US politics. Proposed solutions have not made much headway:

1. Cap campaign funding/spending (our last election had fewer restrictions than previous ones owning to the "money is speech" and "corporations are people" movements [*]).

2. Government funding of elections / media on behalf of candidates so that non-wealthy candidates have a fighting chance.

* Edit:
http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2010/04/26/am.costello.co...

Edited 2013-02-19 15:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by MyNameIsNot4Letter
by MyNameIsNot4Letter on Tue 19th Feb 2013 12:27 UTC
MyNameIsNot4Letter
Member since:
2011-01-09

Is it just me, or why the h... in an article talking about Google's huge political propaganda budget does the author start jabbering about where Apple spends its propaganda budget?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by MyNameIsNot4Letter
by TM99 on Tue 19th Feb 2013 14:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by MyNameIsNot4Letter"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

Because everything in America today is about opposing teams - Republicans versus Democrats, Pro-choice versus Pro-life, etc. So this is just another one - Google versus Apple.

As I stated on another forum posting this news, Google uses lobbyists and Apple uses patent litigation. Both are totally 'legal' but are they ethical? No one really seems to care much anymore.

Reply Score: 2

Corruption, that's the whole point
by siraf72 on Tue 19th Feb 2013 15:54 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

This should be illegal - it's thinly veiled corruption.


Lobbying is precisely a form of legalised corruption.

Reply Score: 3

People don't realize it...
by Novan_Leon on Tue 19th Feb 2013 16:50 UTC
Novan_Leon
Member since:
2005-12-07

Money follows power. The power exists in Washington, so that's where the money will run. If you want to remove the money from Washington, you need to remove the power and return it to the states like the founders intended.

The founders never intended the federal government to be anywhere near as powerful as it is today. They intended the majority of the governing powers to be held at the state level. This did several things:

* It created competition between the states, meaning good government policy would rise to the top and eventually be adopted by other states.

* It encouraged experimentation, giving states the leeway to implement policies that are progressive or unconventional, while insulating the effects of these policies from the rest of the country (unless they are deemed a success and subsequently adopted by other states).

* It allowed for policy differences based on subtle (or not so subtle) cultural differences between regions in the country, and it enabled people who didn't agree with the policies of one state to flee to another state.

* Last, but most relevant to this discussion, it greatly diminished the influence and power of groups such as corporate lobbies, special interests and/or rich individuals by forcing them to distribute their influence over 50+ states to get the same results as they would otherwise by lobbying the federal government in DC. A million dollars for lobbying efforts in Washington DC is much MUCH more influential than $20,000 in each state intended to achieve the same results. In a strong federal government there is "one throat to choke", so to speak, instead of 50 or so "throats to choke" in a distributed, federalist system.

So, long story short, if you want remove the effect of corporate lobbies, special interests and "big money" in Washington, decrease the size of the federal government and return the power to the states. As it currently stands, the money will eventually find it's way to Washington no matter what rules or limitations we try to come up to prevent it... for no other reason than that is where the power is.

Edited 2013-02-19 16:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: People don't realize it...
by zima on Sat 23rd Feb 2013 13:56 UTC in reply to "People don't realize it..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

* Last, but most relevant to this discussion, it greatly diminished the influence and power of groups such as corporate lobbies, special interests and/or rich individuals by forcing them to distribute their influence over 50+ states to get the same results as they would otherwise by lobbying the federal government in DC.

You haven't thought this through - in such scenario, only really wealthy corporations will be able to influence things effectively on a country-scale.

Reply Score: 2

Quite the opposite of illegal
by pianom4n on Tue 19th Feb 2013 23:10 UTC
pianom4n
Member since:
2010-03-21

I don't think many people realize that the right to lobby is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law ... abridging .. the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Quite the opposite of illegal
by sonnyrao on Wed 20th Feb 2013 07:24 UTC in reply to "Quite the opposite of illegal"
sonnyrao Member since:
2011-07-18

lobbying == speech. I.e. talking to people. How does one make that illegal? Making talking to politicians illegal (or talking to people who talk to politicians)? Seems like that wouldn't really work.

Also, look at the issues listed:

Taxation (including the repatriation of profits earned overseas)
Education (including the use of digital textbooks in schools)
Telecommunications (including open Internet and children protection issues)
Environment (including electronic waste, Energy Star and EPEAT standards)
Trade (including free trade and border issues)
Consumer Issues (including privacy protection and the Do Not Track Me Online Act)
Investments and the SEC (including implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act)
Transportation (including the use of technology in cars and airplanes)
Computer Industry (including cybercrime)
Appropriations (including government precurement rules)
Media (including electronic publishing)
Medical (including the regulation of mobile medical devices)

Do you really think that a major tech company shouldn't be talking to elected officials about anything on that list?

Take transportation, do you want self-driving cars? What about education, should we be using more electronic textbooks?

Is it good or bad that Apple doesn't seem to want to engage the government about topics that it probably knows about more than politicians, who are probably relatively tech unsavvy?

Left to their own devices, who knows what sort of crazy stuff they would come up with. Clearly companies/people who are experts, *should* be engaging in discussions with the government, or else we'll see more BS laws that make more sense, SOPA or PIPA anyone?

The issue is much more complex than Thom's simple opinion makes it out to be.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

sonnyrao,

I'm of the mindset that elected officials should be listening to their electorate first and foremost, they shouldn't have any direct responsibilities or pressure from corporate lobbyists whom they're not supposed to be representing. Corporate lobbyists have essentially disconnected the government from it's legitimate constituents.

The way I feel it *should* work is that corporations should have to convince the public to pressure their representatives instead of taking the public out of the loop entirely as it is now. This would fix alot of problems with corporations getting disproportionate representation and entitlements without any public approval or oversight (DMCA, SOPA, etc). It would encourage more political involvement because the public's input would actually carry weight. Corruption is partly mitigated by shifting away from bribing individual politicians to bribing the entire public.

Ideally this could be done in such a way that expert panels be involved. Their work must be explicitly open for public review. Most importantly though, unlike today, experts should be employed/contracted independently by the government and definitely not be not be connected to sources of corruption such as lobbyists/corporate funding.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Quite the opposite of illegal
by Alfman on Wed 20th Feb 2013 14:53 UTC in reply to "Quite the opposite of illegal"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pianom4n,

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging .. the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Not everyone believes corporations should be treated as people in context of these constitutional rights. The feds generally declare it is so, but it is heavily debated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood_debate

Reply Score: 3