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Old 05-24-2004, 08:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bush Has Appointed Over 100 Lobbyists as 'Regulators'...

One more reason to vote in November...
Quote:
Published on Sunday, May 23, 2004 by the Denver Post
When Advocates Become Regulators
President Bush has installed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversee.
by Anne C. Mulkern


WASHINGTON -- In a New York City ballroom days before Christmas, a powerful Bush administration lawyer made an unprecedented offer to drug companies, one likely to protect their profits and potentially hurt consumers.

Daniel E. Troy, lead counsel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, extended the government's help in torpedoing certain lawsuits. Among Troy's targets: claims that medications caused devastating and unexpected side effects.

Pitch us lawsuits that we might get involved in, Troy told several hundred pharmaceutical attorneys, some of them old friends and acquaintances from his previous role representing major U.S. pharmaceutical firms.

The offer by the FDA's top attorney, made Dec. 15 at the Plaza Hotel, took the agency responsible for food and drug safety into new territory.

"The FDA is now in the business of helping lawsuit defendants, specifically the pharmaceutical companies," said James O'Reilly, University of Cincinnati law professor and author of a book on the history of the FDA. "It's a dramatic change in what the FDA has done in the past."

Troy's switch from industry advocate to industry regulator overseeing his former clients is a hallmark of President Bush's administration.

Troy is one of more than 100 high-level officials under Bush who helped govern industries they once represented as lobbyists, lawyers or company advocates, a Denver Post analysis shows.

In at least 20 cases, those former industry advocates have helped their agencies write, shape or push for policy shifts that benefit their former industries. They knew which changes to make because they had pushed for them as industry advocates.

The president's political appointees are making or overseeing profound changes affecting drug laws, food policies, land use, clean-air regulations and other key issues.
This is a long and detailed article with many examples of former lobbyist turned regulators. Read the rest here:
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0523-02.htm

Of course, this may not be at all surprising if you've been paying attention to the news...
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0513-07.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0620-03.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0617-04.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/news2001/0618-09.htm
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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And this differs from the rest of the history of the US how exactly?
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Old 05-25-2004, 10:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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onetime2: The whores are in power like never before.
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Old 05-25-2004, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by prb
onetime2: The whores are in power like never before.
Really? So, those with interests in various industries, political causes, worker groups, environmental concerns, lobbyists, etc, etc, etc haven't always been the ones that the government turns to when it's doling out appointments? I guess I've been confused for the last 3+ decades that I witnessed and the other 20 portrayed in the history books. Should the government instead look to those people who have no interest, ties, history, or knowledge of that which they are appointed to oversee? I'll bet that will go over well.

Sample confirmation hearing:

Congressman: "Mr Jones, am I to understand that you've spent the last 20 years running a Dairy Queen in Sheboygan, WI?"

Candidate for Appointment: "Yes sir"

Congressman: "Have you ever taken a prescription drug?"

Candidate for Appointment: "No sir"

Next Scene, Mr Jones becomes head of the FDA. All America rejoices.
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Old 05-26-2004, 03:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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onetime2: lobbyists would not be my 1st pick of people to become regulators--although they would be intimately familiar with the regulations, their bias makes them bad choices even from a PR standpoint. There are plenty of people who have worked their whole lives in government, people who have experience with policy analysis (rather than advocacy, which lobbyists practice), who are just as familiar with the technical issues, if not more. Hiring people from the industry is fine--it happens all the time in government. People in industry have a great knowledge of the issues that are important. but hiring *lobbyists* seems like an odd choice, when there are scientists, engineers, doctors who have been performing policy analysis for the industry. It's like picking the marketing employee to do regulatory work.
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Old 05-26-2004, 03:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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In fairness, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me this is common practice with all recent presidents. Are there any articles that show how common the practice is?
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by rsl12
onetime2: lobbyists would not be my 1st pick of people to become regulators--although they would be intimately familiar with the regulations, their bias makes them bad choices even from a PR standpoint. There are plenty of people who have worked their whole lives in government, people who have experience with policy analysis (rather than advocacy, which lobbyists practice), who are just as familiar with the technical issues, if not more. Hiring people from the industry is fine--it happens all the time in government. People in industry have a great knowledge of the issues that are important. but hiring *lobbyists* seems like an odd choice, when there are scientists, engineers, doctors who have been performing policy analysis for the industry. It's like picking the marketing employee to do regulatory work.
Where do you think lobbyists come from in the first place? In many cases they come from the industry they are lobbying for. In others they become lobbyists simply because they know certain people of power. Appointments typically come either from knowing the subject or knowing the person doing the appointing. The qualities that make a person a good lobbyist (ability to exert influence, educate, generate press, raise awareness with the public, private, or government decison makers, etc) are qualities that are valuable in a position of leadership of government agencies and departments.

Policy analysts, scientists, engineers, doctors, etc are typically not good leaders as they often work alone and have little experience building concensus. Leaders need to get people to buy into their plans and influence decisions.
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Last edited by onetime2; 05-26-2004 at 04:24 AM..
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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onetime: ok, i made my statements without going through the full article...now that I have, I'd like to quote a few more interesting lines:

Quote:
Bringing bias to a federal job isn't new. Presidents of all political persuasions have appointed people who shared their party's values.

As president, Bill Clinton peppered the federal bureaucracy with Democratic state officials, lawyers and advocates from various environmental or public-interest groups.

Only a handful of registered lobbyists worked for Clinton, however.

Bush's embrace of lobbyists marks a key difference because it allows "those who are affected by the regulations to determine what the ground rules should be," said David Cohen, co-director of the Advocacy Institute, which helps teach nonprofits how to lobby in Washington.

While previous Republican presidents hired lobbyists, "the Bush administration has made it rise in geometric proportions," Cohen said, meaning Bush is "capturing the instruments of government and using them for the ends" that favor Bush's political supporters.
I had a hard time drawing, from the article, the distinction is between hiring a lobbyist and hiring a non-lobbyist from xyz corporation, and in fact the article itself does not draw any strong conclusions regarding the difference; however, it does provide some interesting examples that suggest that the hirings are in exchange to supporting institutions providing financial/political support to Bush. The mad cow example was particularly interesting. Worth a look (or at least a skim) at the full article.

In any case, here's what I think the distinction is between hiring lobbyists and non-lobbyists. It's a theory, feel free to shoot it down. Lobbyists are not known for their aptitude in their field or for their particular thoughts on an issue--they're known for their ability to support the interests of a company (ie, their marketing ability). Non-lobbyists (ie, lawyers for corporations, since i'm assuming that most of these positions are lawyer positions, now that i've read the article) gain prominence from being successful, either in leadership positions or by taking an intriguing (or conventional) stand on an issue, for being their own person. Therefore, while lobbyists make a living by proving how much they can influence government, following whatever order is issued by the industry for which they work, non-lobbyists make a living by running corporations, handling day-to-day matters and feeling the pains caused by xyz government regulation on a daily basis, or feeling strongly enough on an issue to become a public name.

It's a bit hazy--i don't know enough about the issue to say anything definite, but certainly enough (i work as a government contractor) to say that it warrants investigation. I'm not the type to blindly argue about things i don't know about.
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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actually, looking at the article again, i think the line it draws is not between lobbyists and non-lobbyists, but people from for-profit coporations vs. people from government and non-profit organizations. The difference between the two groups is much more clear.
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Old 05-27-2004, 08:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Lobbyists have been writing bills for Congress for decades. Just about every piece of legislation is written by lobbyists and then handed over to Congressional staffers.
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Lobbyists for non profit companies and those for profit are no different. They are pushing an agenda. Lobbyists for non profits get paid just like lobbyists for companies out for money.

There are thousands of jobs that do the exact same thing as lobbyists without being required to register as lobbyists. IMO there is no (or little) distinction between a "lobbyist" and the CEO of a company who donates to the political machines of both parties and pushes their company's agenda. This article is splitting hairs that have no significance at all. Feel free to disagree but our current system is one in which those who give money get to voice their opinions and influence legislation. Whether that comes from registered lobbyists, corporate or non profit leaders it's all the same. Just because someone works for a non-profit or the government it doesn't mean they are more moral or a better fit for the positions of leadership within our government.
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