“Personal Lobbyists”

CQMoneyline reports on individuals hiring lobbyists here.

In the 10 years since lobbying records became publicly available, nearly 100 individuals have spent a total of nearly $17 million on their own lobbyists. The number is rising: In 2005 individuals reported spending $1.9 million on lobbyists, and by last year the total had grown to $4.5 million — which still barely registers beside the $3.3 billion spent in 2008 by corporations and other groups.

This reminded me of Trist v. Child (1874), an early Supreme Court opinion discussing lobbying.

The agreement in the present case was for the sale of the influence and exertions of the lobby agent to bring about the passage of a law for the payment of a private claim, without reference to its merits, by means which, if not corrupt, were illegitimate, and considered in connection with the pecuniary interest of the agent at stake, contrary to the plainest principles of public policy. No one has a right in such circumstances to put himself in a position of temptation to do what is regarded as so pernicious in its character. The law forbids the inchoate step, and puts the seal of its reprobation upon the undertaking.

The opinion goes on to discuss the “springhead and stream of legislation” and its pollution.

Comments are closed.