Tuesday, October 2, 2018

#TXLEGE: Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying -- The Core Problem

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

TPPF's Chuck Devore explains it in Forbes:
But beyond the issue of effectiveness, should one part of government have the right to petition redress of grievances to another level of government? To answer this question it is important to understand that government has no rights—only people have rights—government has powers.

When a lobbyist works for a corporation, a labor union, a special interest group, or even a wealthy individual, that lobbyist, and the person or group that hired them, are participating in free speech. But when the same lobbyist is working for government, the same cannot be said. Government itself does not have a right to free speech.

In addition to the approximately $41 million spent on outside lobbyists by local government by mid-2017, there are dozens of local government employees who are assigned to lobby in the Texas state capital in Austin. For instance, the City of Austin itself spends about $1 million annually to lobby, employing a mix of city employees and contract lobbyists totaling some 14 people.

These lobbyists, employed with taxpayer money, typically use their influence with state lawmakers to advocate for greater spending, more taxing authority, and greater regulatory power, leaving 28 million individual Texans at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to getting their representatives’ attention.

Further, many of the outside lobbyists contracted by local government also have commercial clients. This multiplies their effectiveness as it equips the lobbyists with a wider array of influence tools, such as steak dinners, tickets to sporting events, and campaign donations targeted at state legislators or staff.
Bottom Line: Free speech protections exist to defend citizens from the government; they don't operate in the other direction.

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