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News you won't hear on Fox

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Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:29 pm    Post subject: News you won't hear on Fox Reply with quote

Very interesting article on hidden lobbying by Lee Fang here:

Just a few tidbits to make the point about oil and coal lobbying and hiding the evidence.

Edelman, a public relations firm that helps businesses develop grassroots support for their legislative and regulatory policies in Washington, has also racked up lucrative contracts. According to documents obtained by The Nation, the firm was retained by the grocery industry (for $741,625), the oil refinery industry (for $638,494), a group of mining companies (for $1,371,044), the electric utility industry (for $683,183), the National Association of Manufacturers (for $1,080,87), and the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry lobby (for $51,917,692). On behalf of API, Edelman managed multiple websites and online advertising efforts asking officials to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, support tax deductions for the oil industry and expand access for drilling on public lands.

Despite this seemingly obvious lobbying activity, Edelman has not registered as a lobbying firm since 2006. The so-called “grassroots advocacy” that the firm specializes in falls outside the statutory definition in the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Even those who claim to engage only in public relations do participate, in some cases, in direct meetings. One such example is Anita Dunn, the former White House communications director and current informal adviser to the Obama administration. After leaving the administration in 2009, she joined SKDKnickerbocker, a “political consulting” firm, taking on corporate accounts to influence Obama initiatives. For a group of food-marketing companies, SKD worked to curb Michelle Obama’s obesity initiative; on behalf of a for-profit college, SKD worked to weaken Education Department regulations designed to rein in the industry’s abuses; and it is currently working on behalf of TransCanada to get the Keystone XL pipeline approved.

“I work with some corporations, because the fact of the matter is, we’re in a democracy, and there’s a dialogue, and people have a right to be heard,” Dunn says, defending her work. SKD has never registered as a lobbying firm. The New York Times reported that, despite SKD’s claims that it engages only in public relations, the firm has contacted Obama administration officials on behalf of its clients.

The Obama administration’s greatest defeat, many argue, was the president’s failure to pass a comprehensive law addressing climate change during his first two years in office, when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress. Coal and coal-powered utility companies, fearing a loss in profits resulting from the bill, financed a group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE, pronounced “Ace”) to influence the debate.

After a critical vote in the House of Representatives in 2009, in which the climate bill just barely passed, a Democratic lawmaker from Virginia discovered that many of the letters he had received from supposed constituents asking him to oppose the bill had been forged. The letters appeared to come from local chapters of the American Association of University Women, the NAACP and other organizations—but in fact they were written by Bonner & Associates, a political consulting firm and subcontractor for ACCCE. At least two other Democratic lawmakers, Kathy Dahlkemper and Chris Carney, both from Pennsylvania, received forged letters as well.

ACCCE did disclose $2.2 million in lobbying spending as the House took up President Obama’s climate bill in 2009. Tax forms filed with the IRS, however, show that the group in fact spent $28,353,630 in advocacy that year. The work with Bonner & Associates never had to be disclosed as lobbying.

Plenty to dislike about both parties in the full article. Sunlight is a great antiseptic.
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Joined: 25 Jul 2001
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This reminds me of a conversation with the tour guide in Cuba. He said that people voted for hope in change. I told him we vote for which jerk we think is less corrupt. Everyone involved in the conversation agreed and made similiar comments.
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