Senate Democrats are trying to repeal the First Amendment because they don’t want corporations “influencing” politics. They ought to be concerned about other kinds of influence—like when the Federal government uses taxpayer money to campaign to give more power and money to the government.
The Washington Times reports,
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has been crisscrossing the country this week to drum up local support for the renewal of a conservation fund set to expire at the end of September. She’s announced new preservation efforts and visited the home states of congressional conservatives who have resisted the new spending.
For instance, she unveiled a new preservation effort at a Civil War battlefield in Virginia — home to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — and hosted an event highlighting “America’s hunting, fishing and boating heritage” in Birmingham, Alabama, the backyard of former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus and fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a major advocate for fiscal belt-tightening.
If Ms. Jewell were a member of an advocacy group, her tour might be considered old-fashioned lobbying. But in the parlance of Washington, her travel stops are being called educational “celebrations” of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which takes royalties from offshore drilling for the preservation and maintenance of national parks.
And her tour stops are all perfectly legal despite the stated intent of the Anti-Lobbying Act, ethics experts say. The act, originally passed in 1919, says that “no appropriated funds shall be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service intended or designed to influence in any manner a member of Congress, a jurisdiction or an official of any government, to favor, adopt or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure or resolution” proposing such legislation.
However, lax enforcement from the Justice Department coupled with a liberal interpretation of the law — which allows exceptions for necessary communication between federal agencies and Congress — allows high-level officials like Ms. Jewell to routinely go on such tours.
So it is a never ending cycle. The government increases spending—which includes the funds to campaign for further increases in spending. It is a big government perpetual motion machine.
In my opinion, trying to stop this sort of corruption will be just about impossible as long as the government has so much power and money to do so much. What we need is a drastically reduced scope of government so that federal employees no longer have anything to campaign for.