Every week, our Anonymous Lobbyist answers your questions about how laws get made and why they probably shouldn't. If you have a question about the dirty business of doing business in Washington, ask her.
This week: the single most despicable thing about Washington revealed.
I know you're not a big fan of publicly-funded campaigns, but what do you think of the Yale professors' proposal to give every citizen a $50 voucher to donate to a candidate or cause of their choice?
I'm not a fan of publicly funded campaigns because I find it abhorrent that my tax dollars would go to fund candidates with whom I strongly disagree, let alone to annoying campaign advertisements to which I am constantly subjected. And, since less than 10 percent of taxpayers even contribute $3 on their tax returns (even though it doesn't increase what you owe or decrease what you give back), I'd say I'm in the vast majority of Americans on this one. Tell me one of those professors would want their own hard-earned tax dollars funding Tancredo's campaign. Seriously?
But let's just do a little math here, if you're still on board with subsidizing your ideological opponents. Census estimates that there are about 215 million Americans of voting age, and 142 million of those people are registered to vote (just under 66%). If you just give the money to registered voters, that's $7 billion in extra government spending, even if you assume that it doesn't act as an incentive for more people to register and doesn't come with huge administrative costs. That's more money than all the 2004 elections cost (which was $5 billion, including the cost of actually holding them). So, they're suggesting that we more than double the amount currently spent on campaigns in order to dwarf the private money spent on campaigns by people that think it's worthwhile to spend their money on that shit. So, imagine more commercials and pre-recorded phone calls (because, of course, Congress exempted political calls from the Do Not Call Registry), and tell me this still seems like a grand idea.
Other than yourself, is there such a thing as an honest lobbyist?
Who says I'm honest? I may be honest when writing, but that doesn't make me an honest lobbyist. I prevaricate and dance around issues as well as anyone else in town. You can't outright lie, because then you lose all credibility and piss people off and hurt your career, but straightforward honesty isn't exactly the name of the game. But straightforward honesty is never really the name of any game, anyway- show me your most honest individual, and I'll show you someone who's avoided 2 truths and prevaricated at least once today. Dishonesty is the social lubricant by which all of us can stand to be in relatively close proximity to one another.
Have you, or anyone you work with, ever exchanged sex or sexually related services for legislative support?
Look, this comes up a lot, so let this answer be the end. I do not fuck anyone for legislative support. If I choose to sleep with someone, it's for the sake of sleeping with them and not for my career or my clients- because, frankly, the people who would help me strictly in exchange for sex aren't worth fucking in the first place, and life's too short to spread 'em for the fuglies and the bad lays. Is flirting a part of my bag of lobbying tricks? Yes. Am I above dropping something on the ground to show an extra big of leg or a little more cleavage if it makes me friends? No. Am I going to turn down drinks or a dinner with someone I need to make nice with just because I suspect he's only asking to get me into bed? Definitely not- but the skill comes in making him think he's maybe got a chance without giving him an anger-generating case of blue balls or letting it come to a point where I have to give a yes or no answer. Does it hurt to have a stable of interested men around me with whom I haven't slept but who think I might yet do so? Undoubtedly- but it's still not an exchange of anything but words and the occasional look.
Prostituting myself for a piece of legislation isn't just creepy and ineffective (I can't fuck half the House and 2/3 of the Senate every time I need a bill to pass), it's also a bribe, and I can't get my highlights done right in federal prison. So, while I won't say it doesn't happen, I don't do it, no one who works for me does it and (to my knowledge) no one who works with me does it.
What's the most egregious act you've seen a staffer or politician commit? It doesn't need to be work related, just some kind of awful douchebaggery.
At least once a day, someone cuts in front of me in the line for the bar. Is there a more egregious act in Washington?