Publicly financed bribery

That’s what it amounts to when local governments hire lobbying firms to influence Congress.

When local governments feel they have to hire lobbying firms to represent them in Washington, isn’t it obvious that the process is badly broken? And of course hiring lobbyists is an easy way of making political payoffs. So Federal corruption breeds local corruption.

Of course Republicans, who hate public financing of campaigns, seem to have no objection to publicly financed bribery.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

8 thoughts on “Publicly financed bribery”

  1. What struck me as particularly sad was the absolute lack of shame on the part of most of the local officials quoted.
    Tom G.

  2. And Democrats seem to have no objection to giving the federal government sufficient arbitrary power to make bribery both worth doing, and necessary.

  3. Brett, how has federal government fared in these last few years of GOP uber alles? And how has the power of the presidency fared in the post-WWII world, where the GOP has held the presidency 33 years out of 58?

  4. It's worth noting that the practice isn't new–it's the number of players. Big cities have always had "lobbyists"–either well-paid elected officials or bureaucrats or specialists. Now the smaller cities are getting into the action–but it is not a new phenomenon.

  5. My local school district uses my tax dollars to lobby for additional state funding at the state capitol. Is that also evidence that the process is badly broken?

  6. Dems should illustrate this "corruption breeds corruption" cycle more concretely. Name actual names and crimes, and explain that that's how the world works if you let the corruption get a foothold. And, moderately corrupt people can't delude themselves that they can profit alonside with the fully corrupt. They're pushed aside eventually as the fully corrupt do business with one another exclusively.

  7. Mr. Kleiman, I take it that you support public financing of campaigns.
    Please explain to me why part of my paycheck that is taken from me in taxes should be diverted for the candidacy of the U.S. Nazi party candidate for school board?
    Alternatively, if you do not believe such a diversion should take place, please explain exactly how you plan to discriminate between those politicians who are entitled to put their hand into my pocket and those who have to self-finance their own propaganda.

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