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


Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Ethics Code for Lobbyists


After Abramoff came reforms (Holyoke 274-275) with loopholes, as National Journal reports:
The 2007 rules pre­vent a lob­by­ist for a cor­por­ate cli­ent from plan­ning or pay­ing for a law­maker’s trip. But the same rules al­low such a trip if it’s paid for by a for­eign gov­ern­ment. So while it does re­main il­leg­al for, say, a Google lob­by­ist to plan and ac­com­pany a law­maker on a free trip abroad, if that same lob­by­ist does so on be­half of Tur­key, it’s per­fectly leg­al. And if that lob­by­ist hap­pens to have both cor­por­ate and for­eign-gov­ern­ment cli­ents (as most do), they can still go abroad so long as it’s a coun­try and not a com­pany foot­ing the bill.
And that’s only one of the loop­holes the in­flu­ence in­dustry has ex­ploited to help law­makers score free travel. Today, a wide net­work of non­profits — many with a clear agenda and some with ex­cru­ci­at­ingly tight ties to Wash­ing­ton’s biggest lob­by­ing op­er­a­tions — are put­ting to­geth­er in­ter­na­tion­al con­gres­sion­al ex­cur­sions. Some of these pa­per non­profits have no staff or space of their own; they simply share with a sis­ter or­gan­iz­a­tion that lob­bies. Yet eth­ics of­fi­cials in Con­gress have deemed them to be in­de­pend­ent enough. In one in­stance, a lob­by­ist lit­er­ally re­gistered a new non­profit — in his own of­fice — that went on to pay for con­gres­sion­al travel abroad.
Big cor­por­a­tions bank­roll some non­profits, whose trips, in turn, can fea­ture stops at the busi­nesses of their cor­por­ate fun­ders. As a bo­nus, the grow­ing use of 501(c)(3) non­profits, which oc­cupy the same char­it­able rung of the tax code as soup kit­chens and the Amer­ic­an Red Cross, means that the wealthy and cor­por­ate donors un­der­writ­ing con­gres­sion­al travel can do so in secret and get a tax write-off along the way.

Transparency loopholes

Pensions and California

The Richest Counties in the US, with Median Household Income Estimate for 2013
  • Loudoun County, VA $117,680
  • Falls Church city, VA $117,452
  • Los Alamos County, NM $110,930
  • Fairfax County, VA $110,658
  • Howard County, MD $108,503
  • Hunterdon County, NJ $107,203
  • Douglas County, CO $105,192
  • Arlington County, VA $101,533
  • Morris County, NJ $99,950
  • Montgomery County, MD $97,873

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