I might not have the nuts and bolts right with what I'm about to describe, so jump in with any details I have wrong, but here's something people need to understand -

"Lobbying reform" made everything worse.

Let me explain.

When I was a lobbyist, I could buy lunch. I could buy dinner. I could pick up a bar tab. I could maybe buy a souvenir or something like that. It was all disclosed.

I had to know what I was talking about over dinner or drinks. If I didn't, they would eat, drink, and ignore me.
That pisses people off, but that's how you do business - you break bread with people. You have drinks with people. Lobbying was a business like any other.

Then they changed everything.

Now, if you want to have a meal or have drinks with Members or staff, it has to be campaign related.

So company reps can still buy dinner and drinks, but they have to also bring a campaign check.

So instead of being policy-oriented, these outings are arranged by fundraisers
I don't see how this is better. I see it as far more transactional.

When it was my job, it was about building relationships. It's not about that any more. So someone with my job goes in and has a boring meeting, then someone else brings a check later.

See the problem?

Campaign contributions and lobbying weren't UNrelated, but it wasn't like it is now.

Companies made decisions about who they would donate to and how much based on voting records, of course, but it wasn't like this.

Now it's "Here's what we want, and here's a check."

I haven't been in the lobbying business for awhile, so this is a rudimentary explanation. I welcome anyone who can fill in the blanks, but my point is this-

Just bc something sounds good "Lobbyists can't buy drinks" doesn't mean it solves a problem. It can make things worse.
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