Lobbyists slop congressional hogs at 'destination' fund-raisers | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lobbyists slop congressional hogs at 'destination' fund-raisers

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 7:35 AM

You've heard of destination weddings?

Read in the New York Times today about "destination" campaign fund-raisers for members of Congress, luxury events at ski resorts, for example. It's legal.

Neither the lawmakers nor the lobbyists attending the events want to talk about them, even though such trips are permitted under the law. They allow members of Congress to hit hot spots like the Napa Valley wine country, famed golf courses and hunting preserves, as well as five-star hotels in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, South Florida and even Bermuda.

Congress, after a corruption scandal that involved golf trips to Scotland and other getaways paid for by lobbyists, passed legislation in 2007 prohibiting lobbyists from giving lawmakers gifts of just about any value. But as is the norm in Washington, the lawmakers and lobbyists have figured out a workaround: Political campaigns and so-called leadership PACs controlled by the lawmakers now pay the expenses for the catering and the lawmakers’ lodging at these events — so they are not gifts — with money collected from the corporate executives and lobbyists, who are still indirectly footing the bill.

Only the richest state legislative candidates could try this on the state level by using campaign money for a fancy retreat that lobbyists would want to attend. But they still get their slop. The law allows them to receive gifts valued at up to $100 and there's no cumulative cap. And there are still "educational" events to which lawmakers may be transported and hotboxed by lobbyists in between seminars on the evils of environmental regulation and the beauty of supply side economics. Also there are the famous "ticketed events" at which legislators with spare cash have bogus campaign fund-raisers to swap checks with their political party pals. Both parties do it, but Republicans perfected the art in the last campaign cycle.

A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit all gifts to legislators by lobbyists, but it may not make the ballot because of a drafting problem. A grassroots campaign, Regnat Populus, may attempt to put the measure on the ballot independently. But if you ban lobbyist gifts, what about non-lobbyist gifts, albeit by interested parties?

Money, I'm afraid, is like water. It always finds an outlet.

Tags: , , ,



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation