The Lonely Centrist

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Lobbyists in the Room: The McCain-Feingold-McGehee Bill

The Denver Post offers this article about how the "Stand by Your Ad" provisions of McCain-Feingold - you know, the "I'm your friendly neighborhood congressman, and I approve this message" you now see tagged on to the end of all these campaign ads - may determine the outcome of a congressional race in Colorado. Not because voters care about the candidate "standing by his ad," but because the law is about to give a huge financial advantage to Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave's challenger.

But while the "Stand by you ad" stuff is interesting, what caught the Centerman's eye was this passage:
Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., said she was in the room when the statute was drafted four years ago.
Four years ago, McGehee - according to her own biography - was "Chief lobbyist" for Common Cause - indeed, "one of the top nonprofit/grassroots lobbyists in Washington." What the heck is a lobbyist doing in there drafting legislation? I thought we were supposed to be outraged at the idea of lobbyists drafting legislation. I mean outraged. In fact, "It's almost as if legislators are outsourcing one of their primary duties."!

Common Cause likes to refer to itself as the "citizens' lobby," and seems to think that makes them special. Of course, they represent about one-tenth as many citizens as the National Rifle Association. Heck, they represent a fraction of the number of citizens who hold stock in, and work for, most publicly traded corporations. In other words, they represent a fraction of the citizen's that many, if not most, other lobbyists represent.

Well, maybe McGehee was just standing around wasting time, not really contributing anything. Yeah, that's probably it. 'Cause we couldn't have lobbyists drafting legislation.

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