Thursday, February 8, 2007

Taxpayer-funded lobbying is a non-partisan problem

It's human nature to be for or against an issue depending on whose ox is being gored but I hope that we can develop a broad consensus that taxpayer-funded lobbying should be eliminated.

I've done some Googling to see what our friends on the left and our friends on the right have had to say about the problem of taxpayer-funded lobbying over the years.

Here are some miscellaneous links about that, and about the problem in general.

The Dallas Morning News reported last year that:

“Public entities in Texas spend between $10 million and $23 million a year on private lobbyists to push projects and defend their interests in Austin.”
Texans for Public Justice have highlighted the possibility that a state lobbyist might have converted taxpayer dollars into GOP campaign contributions.

More recently, the same organization took a more benign view of taxpayer-funded lobbying.

San Antonio Lobbying: Double the Trouble? This is $500,000 straight from their general revenue fund to pay for lobbyists in Austin.

Off the Kuff reports on the successful reduction of Texas lobbying of the federal government:

The following is a statement by House Democratic Leaders in response to reports that the taxpayer funded lobby contracts with two Washington D.C. lobbyists (Jack Abramoff crony, Todd Boulanger, and former Tom DeLay Chief of Staff, Drew Maloney) were cancelled. Since 2003, House Democrats have repeatedly called on Republican elected officials in Texas to cancel the exorbitant and unnecessary lobby contracts.

Democratic members of the U.S. Senate proposed a bill in 2005 to Stop Taxpayer Funded Government Propaganda.

Here's a PDF of Rep. Dunman calling for an audit of some taxpayer-funded lobbying.

Common Dreams points out that the Bush Lobbying Effort Skirts Law.

In Texas, most of the work against taxpayer-funded lobbying has been done by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that successfully brought a lawsuit against the Texas Association of Counties.

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