See above: The Iron Triangle
ABOUT THIS BLOG
I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
· To post questions or comments;
· To follow up on class discussions;
· To post relevant news items or videos.
There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.
The syllabus is at http://www1.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/gov106-fall15.html
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Local governments are creatures of the state.
Here in California, lobbyists must navigate municipal, county, and district governments.
Local governments often offer opportunities for public comment. Such opportunities may mean less than you think
As Nownes says, land use is a major issue for local government. Zoning is the word. A key concept is the conditional use permit.
Also as Nownes says, the process is so complex that interests often need consultants.
Big business does not always win:
Back to state government. Eminent domain is a big issue with the duel between Proposition 98 and Proposition 99.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In a word, access. Unlike Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama is relatively new to national politics and is therefore open to bringing new people — and new money — into the tent. For money types who want a table, or at least to look involved and get an invitation to the right parties, Mr. Obama is the candidate. As one of the hedge fund managers on the Alpha list said, “To be in Hillary’s inner circle, you had to be giving a decade ago, when Bill was president.” The same goes for Mr. McCain.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Information on behested payments.
California campaign finance limits. Note the absence of limits for ballot measures.
The mechanics of direct democracy:
- States with the initiative and referendum.
- Requirements in California
- Eighteen states have the recall process for state officials.
- Requirements in California
- The case of Prop 87 (2006)
Argument for (with rebuttal)
- Argument against (with rebuttal)
- Ad against
- The finances behind both sides.
Ballot measures are big business. Firms specialize just in petition signatures.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Although he spends most of the letter explaining how "liberals" like Obama, Clinton, and Pelosi are plotting to "win total control of the government" and laying out plans to "pass record-setting tax increases," he also takes a jab at MoveOn.org:
If liberal organizations like MoveOn.org have their way, our troops will be recklessly pulled out of Iraq and our enemies will be handed a victory they have neither won nor deserve. [sic] [replaced original underlining with bold]Well, if MoveOn.org wants it, it must be a bad idea. I'm sure my mother would agree.
EDIT: This HTML Editor = fail. Here are the links to the letter:
Oil companies are usually powerful. But in California, the education lobby is more powerful.
Want to know about lobbyists in California? Look here.
Some lobbyist profiles:
Institute of Governmental Advocates ethics code.
FPPC information on lobbyists
From the CA Lobbying Disclosure Information Manual: "Gifts made directly to members of an official’s immediate family are not subject to the gift limits unless the family member is also a public official described above, but are subject to disclosure on quarterly reports"
There are limits on gifts, but members have used campaign funds for personal purposes:
Monday, April 14, 2008
States and localities lobby Washington. Here is a tenant list in the Hall of the States building.
Sources on federalism and state government.
Except in California and Texas, state legislators represent many fewer people than their counterparts in Congress.
Where do they spend our money?
States tend to have plurality in the executive. Consider Texas.
Fifteen states have term limits on legislators.
Want to know about lobbyists in California? Look here.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
A Growing Number of the World's Emigrants Are Heading East,
Rather Than West, in Search of Safety, Tolerance and Opportunity
Sunday, October 21, 2007; Page A16
YIWU, China -- For more than three years, Khaled Rasheed and his family spent the nights huddled in fear as bombs exploded near their home in Baghdad. Like generations of would-be emigrants before him, he dreamed of a better life elsewhere. But where?
Finding a place that was safe was Rasheed's top priority, but openness to Islam and bright business prospects were also important.
It wasn't long before he settled on a place that had everything he was looking for: China.
For a growing number of the world's emigrants, China -- not the United States -- is the land where opportunities are endless, individual enterprise is rewarded and tolerance is universal.
"In China, life is good for us. For the first time in a long time, my whole family is very happy," said Rasheed, 50, who in February moved with his wife and five children to Yiwu, a trading city about four hours south of Shanghai.
Wilson typology of policy arenas. An illustration: In the Dubai ports deal two years ago, Dubai was not able to prevail when the issue went public.
More here on diaspora politics and dual citizenship.
Ike warned about the military-industrial complex:
The complex still exists, but has shrunk since the end of the Cold War.
Groups against administration policy in Iraq:
- Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
- Iraq Veterans Against the War
- United for Peace and Justice
- Code Pink
An example of AAEI tactics:
See Moveon.org's "General Betray-us" ad.
Code Pink at work:
The major groups favoring administration policy in Iraq is Move American Forward.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
With great fanfare, Congress adopted strict ethics rules last year requiring members to disclose when they steered federal money to pet projects. But it turns out lawmakers can still secretly direct billions of dollars to favored organizations by making vague requests rather than issuing explicit instructions to government agencies in committee reports and spending bills. That seeming courtesy is the difference between “soft earmarks” and the more insistent “hard earmarks.”
How to spot a soft earmark? Easy. The language is that of a respectful suggestion: A committee “endorses” or notes it “is aware” of deserving programs and “urges” or “recommends” that agencies finance them.
After hard earmarks figured into several Congressional scandals and prompted criticism of wasteful spending from government agencies and watchdog groups, Congress cut back on their number last year and required disclosure of most of them. (There were more than 10,000, costing nearly $20 billion last year, according to the Congressional Research Service.)
But soft earmarks, while not a new phenomenon, have drawn virtually no attention and were not included in the ethics changes — and current ones under consideration — because Congress does not view them as true earmarks.
Their total cost is not known. But the research service found that they amounted to more than $3 billion in one spending bill alone in 2006, out of 13 annual appropriations bills. And the committee that handles the bill, which involves foreign operations, has increasingly converted hard earmarks to soft ones.
Soft earmarks are included in a number of spending measures, but they tend to occur more frequently in spending bills that give money to the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development and other foreign aid programs.
Federal agencies are not required to finance soft earmarks. However, officials have traditionally felt obliged to comply with such requests.
“Soft earmarks, while not legally binding, frequently come with an implicit threat: If you don’t take our suggestions, we will give you a hard earmark next,” said Andrew Natsios, former administrator of A.I.D. in the Bush administration.
Monday, April 7, 2008
More detail from The New York Times:
Mr. Penn met with the Colombians in his role as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm. He has refused to sever his ties to the company, which also represented Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and through a subsidiary represented Blackwater Worldwide, the military contractor blamed for numerous civilian deaths in Iraq.
The Japan Foundation is one avenue of foreign influence.FEC information on campaign contributions and foreign nationals.
There are restrictions on PAC activity by US subsidiaries of foreign corporations (see link above). But there are plenty of foreign-connected PACs.
An example of direct government lobbying: the Canadian embassy.
APCO issued a response to the Silverstein story.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Northrop, which teamed up with Airbus parent EADS to clinch the first stage of the $35 billion program, is facing an official protest from losing bidder Boeing Co and threats from some lawmakers to block funding of the deal.
"We're making our way through them," said Paul Meyer, vice president of Northrop's air mobility systems unit, referring to individual members of Congress. "We are going to be very prevalent and stay focused in front of the press to make sure the facts are always on the table."
Boeing, which was widely expected to win the tanker contract, has faulted the Air Force's decision-making process.
Meanwhile, its congressional supporters -- chiefly from the states of Washington and Kansas, where Boeing has its main plane-making plants -- have accused the Air Force of exporting jobs and endangering national security by awarding the job to the Northrop/EADS team.
The surprise announcement in February sparked a war of words between Boeing and Northrop and their respective supporters, through speeches in Congress, on television and in prominent newspaper ads.
Boeing has protested the award to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is expected to rule on the case by mid-June. Northrop cannot perform any work on the tanker until the GAO rules on the matter.
But even if Boeing's protest fails, Congress has the power to block funding for the deal, which would effectively overturn the contract. That sets up a battle between two politically savvy companies to win hearts and minds in Washington.
Google probably competed with many other companies, especially Yahoo, for this opportunity, and one can imagine that lobbyists had a great deal of influence.
- The Supreme Court, interest groups, and the presidential campaign:
- Washington Legal Foundation (conservative)
- American Civil Liberties Union (liberal)
- American Center for Law and Justice (conservative)
- NAACP (liberal) and NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Federalist Society (conservative)
- American Bar Association (liberal)
- American Civil Rights Institute (conservative)
- People for the American Way (liberal)
- Institute for Justice (conservative)
- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (liberal)