“It’s perfectly legal” is a phrase that can be maddening. You just got screwed by some organization and that’s their come back. And when you investigate, the odds are very high that they were right. That’s because too often the laws aren’t written to protect you. They are written, in my view, too often to protect the people who spent the money via campaign contributions or in other ways to influence the people who write the laws.
Once when I was in Washington covering representatives from the Columbus area, I was amazed at the throngs of men in black suits carrying briefcases walking up and down the corridors of the Capitol building. Turns out they were lobbyists. It also turns out that they often either write or influence the writing of those laws that affect their vested interest. When I asked one congressman about that, he pointed out that there was no one better qualified to write the laws than the people who are engaged in the organization who know all about the subject. That may be, but it boils down to “putting the rabbits in charge of the lettuce” as my friend retired South Carolina state legislator, appeals court judge, and college president Alex Sanders use to say.
What can be done about it? For one thing, stop voting against your own self interest by putting the sold-out legislators in office. How do you know that your man or woman is a political whore? Now, that’s not easy. It’s takes dedicated watchdog media types to find out. They appear to be in short supply. Why? Simple. Media corporations have to be willing to employ skilled watchdog reporters. Some few do. Why don’t others? What do you think?
Sometimes political rivals will blow the whistle on a political hooker when it’s suits their purposes. But, you can’t count on that.
By all means, when you vote tomorrow, let me urge you to vote in favor of limiting lobbyists’ gifts to Georgia legislators to $100. We can thank state Sen. Josh McKoon for getting that on that on the Republican and Democratic primary ballots. It won’t become law but it will tell Georgia state legislators that’s what the people want.