Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Agent Lobbying’

OPEN SOURCE LOBBYING Should Be The Only Legal Lobbying

April 13, 2019

Those afflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome hoped that Mueller would describe the object of their hatred as an agent of Putin. This didn’t happen: Trump was explicitly exonerated from being a Russian agent. Instead, Mueller fingered out a number of super lobbyists, working with, or more exactly for, both ironically called “Republicans” and “Democrats” (in contrast to what, “Monarchists”?)… the US super lobbyists also worked for all dictators you can possibly imagine… And their targets were not just the powerful “leaders” in Western states, but public opinion (it’s managing public opinion which caused and enabled the Kaiser attack of 1914, and that was explicitly planned, in writing, as early as 1912; since then we enjoyed more of the same, the molding of public opinion to produce Maoism, Nazism, McCarthyism, Brexit, etc.).

The New York Times wrote an article on this: “Gregory Craig, Ex-Obama Aide, Is Indicted on Charges of Lying to Justice Dept.”

My reactionI claim that ONLY OPEN SOURCE LOBBYING Should Be LAWFUL.

Draining the swamp, one lobbyist at a time. Just to understand how hard it is going to be, going that route: there are 40,000 officially registered lobbyists at the European Parliament.

Why should lobbyists who receive compensation (financial or otherwise) for their work be tolerated, in a democracy? Why not, instead, outlaw lobbying pay to play entirely? It’s easy for lobbyists to implicitly offer plenty of indirect contributions in the future…t

The only lawful lobbying should be Open Source lobbying, where the lobbying effort would be posted on the Internet, and made completely transparent. Moreover, a government agency (related to the Justice Department)  should review the lobbying and explain its plausibility, veracity, impact, etc… Similarly to what is already done in California when propositions come to referendums (the voters’ official pamphlet comes with pros and cons, and a California government official analysis, for each single proposition… that, feeds, in turn, healthy debates in the public, and moves the voting intentions).  

Democracy, People Power, can’t happen when only a few men have all the power. In this case, these few men empowered a quasi-dictator in Ukraine determined to crush, even kill, the ex-PM, a woman. This is not just a question of money, not just a question the law, or politics, but of basic human rights.  

Patrice Ayme

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Notes: 1) The question of Referendum Initiated by Citizens (RIC) is related, as I said in the comment above. In Switzerland, referendums can be contested judicially (and have been: 5 out of 10 last year, 2018!) The US State of Oregon is introducing a system according to which a state commission made of citizens selected by lot would overview the argumentation submitted to referendum. The same could be done for lobbying. Such a system of overviewing by lot was already used in democracies of Ancient Greece. 

2) Many European “leaders” have been in the employ of top plutocratic corporations. Here is a particular case of lobbying. 

Why do Pluto corporation legal “persons” enjoy greater rights than the average citizen? They exert special access of VIPs in secret (see Europe, below). We’ve clear indications of malfeasance, the “revolving door” between government & business… Just over two years! This is the official (real was probably much higher) intensity of a few US Obama-favored technological monopolies. Legally those are viewed as “persons” (the idea, and law originated in France, became US law recently).  Revolving door became blatant in 1920, when German assets were offered to US plutocrats by the US government (the building with the transactions conveniently burned in 1922, or so…)

3) The corrupting nature of lobbying is beyond understanding. Schroeder, once Chancellor of Germany, became the head of the Russian-German gas project, which insures the good fortune of Putin, Schroder, and the CO2 catastrophe. Ultimately pipes were built-in the Baltic Sea sea floor to bring Siberian gas to Germany.  Schroeder made millions… More are built. Merkel claimed she saved the world from big bad nuclear, while enriching the Russian petrostate dictatorship. No doubt she will be rewarded when she resigned the Chancellorship… Just as her corrupt predecessor.

4) Context from NYT: In an indictment that seized the attention of the capital’s K Street lobbying corridor, Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration, was charged on Thursday with lying to the Justice Department and concealing information about work he did in 2012 for the government of Ukraine.

The indictment of Mr. Craig, 74, stemmed from an investigation initiated by the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

The charges represented a continuation — and an expansion — of a new focus on a long-neglected law governing foreign influence operations in the United States, which the Justice Department has begun prioritizing in part because of scrutiny related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation…

By Thursday afternoon, the indictment and its implications were a hot topic for Washington’s lucrative lobbying and communications consulting industry.

The charges will prompt even more diligent review of possible compliance obligations by consultants who represent foreign clients, said Thomas J. Spulak, a partner at the King & Spalding law firm who advises on lobbying compliance.

“It’s pretty significant,” he said. “It’s not just trying to influence the government; it’s trying to influence the American public.” He added, of Mr. Craig’s case, “If they can establish the facts, then I think it’s a pretty serious violation.”

Mr. Craig’s indictment also attracted notice because he is the first person who made his name in Democratic Party politics to be charged in a case linked to the special counsel’s investigation. An Ivy League-educated lawyer, Mr. Craig held prominent positions in the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.

The indictment said Mr. Craig “did not want to register as an agent for the government of Ukraine” partly because he believed doing so would make it less likely that he and others at his firm at the time, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, would be appointed to federal government posts. Mr. Obama had put rules in place restricting the work that former lobbyists could do in his administration.

The indictment said Mr. Craig also wanted to hide the identity of the Ukrainian oligarch who paid $4 million to fund the overwhelming majority of the fees received by Skadden Arps for the Ukraine work.

Mr. Craig identified the oligarch as Viktor Pinchuk, a steel magnate who has portrayed himself as pro-Western, and who has donated millions to the Clinton Foundation…

The work was done on behalf of the government of Viktor F. Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine, and consisted primarily of producing a report on the prosecution and jailing by Mr. Yanukovych’s government of one of his rivals, the former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko. The Skadden Arps team also agreed to train Ukrainian prosecutors handling matters related to the case.

The work was steered to Mr. Craig and his firm by Paul Manafort, who at the time was a political consultant earning tens of millions of dollars for his representation of Mr. Yanukovych. Mr. Manafort intended to use the report to quell Western criticism of Mr. Yanukovych.

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When a concept is born, the concept should have a name, that’s how neurobiology works. The concept becomes a philosophical person, so to speak. I am proud to have originated “Trump Derangement Syndrome“, let’s hope “Open Source Lobbying” will be similarly graced… I have talked in the past of the “Absolute Wealth Limit”… A concept actually invented and practiced in the Roman Republic. However, the Roman didn’t give it a name as such. Notice that the “Absolute Wealth Limit” was a particular case of another Roman Republican practice which deserves a name, the “Absolute Power Limit“. According to which persons (even Consuls in the case of Rome, or presidents in contemporary states) shouldn’t have more than a given power limit. Open Source Lobbying is a particular case.

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Disclosure: Skadden is one of the premium law firms in the world. Fundamental to the plutocratic order. My spouse worked at Skadden for a few years… And I have socialized with Skadden partners… Thus I am no virgin to the subject…