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Two SOPA Writers Become Entertainment Lobbyists 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the par-for-the-course dept.
schwit1 writes "According to Politico, 'A pair of senior Hill aides at the center of a brewing battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley are packing their bags for K Street, where they’ll work for two of the entertainment lobby shops trying to influence their former colleagues in Congress on the very same issue. Allison Halataei, former deputy chief of staff and parliamentarian to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Lauren Pastarnack, a Republican who has served as a senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, worked on online piracy bills that would push Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook to shut down websites that offer illegal copies of blockbuster films and chart-topping songs.' Techdirt adds, 'Pastarnack went to the MPAA where she'll be "director of government relations" and Halataei to the NMPA (music publishers and songwriters) where she'll be "chief liaison to Capitol Hill." The Politico article linked above notes that this kind of "revolving door" is all too common. It may not be directly corrupt, but to the public it sure feels corrupt.'"
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Two SOPA Writers Become Entertainment Lobbyists

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  • by laffer1 (701823) <luke@ f o o l i s h g a m es.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:13PM (#38330614) Homepage Journal

    It's way to easy to "encourage" someone to write bills in your favor as a company. And politicians wonder why so many people don't even bother to vote anymore.

  • by nicholas22 (1945330) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:21PM (#38330668)
    This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.
  • by DanTheManMS (1039636) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:29PM (#38330724)
    I think most here would agree that lobbying in and of itself is corruption to begin with. A congressional aide becoming a lobbyist to influence his or her former colleagues? Even moreso. Yeah yeah, they have a one-year "cooling off" period in which they can't directly lobby them, but that's hardly the point. All that does is remove the issue from the public eye long enough that the corruption is forgotten by the time it can legally begin.

    The Politico article linked above notes that this [...] may not be directly corrupt

    The Politico article only states that this act is completely legal, not that it isn't directly corrupt. There's a difference between the two.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:33PM (#38330752)

    It may not be directly corrupt, but to the public it sure feels corrupt.'"

    Incorrect. This is an inherently corrupt practice, much like when Michael Moore pointed out (in the film Sicko) that the politicians who supported the big medical corporations at the expense of health care also got executive level positions after their corrupt legislation was approved by congress.

    I will correct the quote:
    It may not be directly illegal, but to the public it is corrupt.'

  • Re:how many more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:44PM (#38330824)

    how many more times do you need to be shown that business' ability to regulate government is only a way to steal and sell power?

    ftfy

  • Occupy's One Thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deanklear (2529024) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:47PM (#38330842)
    This should be the sole focus of the Occupy movement: a law that makes it illegal to engage in any business with the private industry which you have recently helped regulate, for a period of 10 years. Additionally, make it a law that you cannot regulate an industry where you have worked in the previous ten years. (This includes voting in the chamber: it's called a conflict of interest for a reason.) Make the conviction penalty for lawmakers their immediate termination and a complete dissolution of their government pension.

    When people complain that the only way it would work is if government had to disclose all of their now-private meetings, you say, "You're damn right they would." When they say that half of Congress couldn't vote because they're lawyers, you say, "You're damn right they couldn't." That, of course, is the whole problem: we've got hundreds of millionaire lawyers pretending that they care about working class Americans. But instead, they're taking away our rights and giving them to corporations who put money in their campaign coffers.

    I don't want any more secret meetings between the companies picking my pocket and the government I pay to employ. No more Vegas style parties on the taxpayer dime. No more loopholes for outrageously wealthy corporations shipping our livelihoods overseas so they can rake in profits while we bail them out. Openly perform your duties as a public servant, or get the hell out of our government.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:03PM (#38330956)

    Voting doesn't change whether or not idiots get into office. It just lets people pick the most popular idiot to put into office.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:12PM (#38331024)
    We might, if we thought it would make any significant difference. But it won't. Things have gone too far. The only way out now is through.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:24PM (#38331096)

    I used to think this way.

    Made the trip from apathy to habitual voter. Read up on everything, kept abreast of the latest developments, supported "my" candidates and voted in line with my desired outcomes.

    Now I'm back to not giving a fuck about voting. I've seen what it's worth and I'm tired of being a rube. It's principled apathy, not laziness. I'll keep giving to the EFF and I'll support the Pirate Party when they sail into town but until then there are better things to do with my time.

  • Re:Some thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:36PM (#38331206) Journal
    The corruption in the US is awful. If you want to buy a senator's vote, you can give him money directly (not to his campaign, that's regulated) in the form of stock options, land, any number of things. Worse, YOU CAN'T GET AN FOIA REQUEST FROM CONGRESS. That's right, it's easier to get information from the CIA than from congress.

    The cynical side of me says the reason congress always talks about campaign reform, often in a bipartisan way, is to distract people from thinking of bribery reform.
  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:50PM (#38331286)
    "Maybe you'll get enough together and win." - and that would be exactly the reason we're not getting anywhere. If I had 100k friends, that would still be only a tiny fraction of the number of votes needed for federal office of any kind. Do you have even a tenth as many friends? However thanks to Citizen United, in addition to purchasing people who spend 100% of their time talking to politicians to influence legislation, a wealthy corporation can spend millions on campaigns to get the people they want into office. Corps can spend money getting voter suppression laws on the books. But go on thinking voting matters, and telling people who have a legitimate complaint about the way our system works their voice does not matter because they don't dance kabuki with the rest of us. More and more citizens are ignoring opinions like yours, and looking for ways outside of voting to influence or shake up a broken system.
  • by grahamsaa (1287732) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:59PM (#38331326)
    So not showing up to vote should de-fund things. Ok. What things? Should funding be cut across the board? Should it be cut in the districts where people don't show up to vote? I don't think there's any workable way to implement what you're proposing.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:38PM (#38331536)

    If I had 100k friends, that would still be only a tiny fraction of the number of votes needed for federal office of any kind.

    Actually, if you look at the 2010 election results, 100K votes is just about the number you'd need to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Of course, this requires that all of the friends in question are in the same congressional district.

  • by grcumb (781340) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:53PM (#38331606) Homepage Journal

    This should be the sole focus of the Occupy movement: a law that makes it illegal to engage in any business with the private industry which you have recently helped regulate, for a period of 10 years.

    Two problems with that idea:

    1. 1) They would simply be hired by 'independent' think tanks, then be contracted from there by the lobbyists to provide 'expert advice'. Abstract as desired until it's legal again.
    2. 2) Experience and expertise are absolutely necessary when legislation and regulation are being drafted. Outlawing that would be worse than letting the corporations write their own legislation. Seriously.

    You can't make immorality illegal, no matter how hard you try. The problem is cultural. The mantra that companies' sole priority is to increase shareholder value via any legal means necessary will inevitably lead to companies trying to affect the 'legal means' part of the equation.

    I know whereof I speak, by the way. I live in a very small country, and am fairly often asked for expert advice on matters pertaining to technology policy by players on both sides of the field. I answer any request for information to the extent that I can. If it takes a lot of my time, I charge for it. I have only one condition: I refuse to change my advice, nor to hide my opinion, nor to serve one side differently from the other.

    In one case, someone involved in litigation asked me to brief his legal team on the particulars of technology in this country. I said I would, but that he should be advised that, while I'd not repeat what was said in the meeting room, I would offer the same advice and information to anyone who asked. He didn't seem pleased with the idea, and never followed up on the request.

    As long as profit is the only criterion for success in the US, you're going to have the problem of people gaming the system and congratulating themselves when they do. That has to stop. Competition is not about playing with the rules, it's about playing by them.

    What you really need is a generation that says, 'There are some things that I simply will not do.' That won't be easy.

  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:16PM (#38331708) Homepage

    Well I don't need to say anymore.

    Did you actually say anything at all?

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @02:51AM (#38332952)

    No that isn't what they wanted. What they wanted was to delegate their vote to the people that actually do vote. If you don't vote you have no right to complain about a single thing that your elected officials do. You abrogated your responsibility to others. Were people to actually take seriously their electoral responsibility much could be done to alter the politics of this nation.

    Rather than this asinine idea that inaction should be a vote of some sort I'd rather see criminal penalties for NOT voting. If people actually took responsibility and voted and corresponded with their representatives the advantage of special interests would be greatly decreased. But by refusing to vote what you do is empower the special interests by abrogating your vote to them.

    That makes you a fool.

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @03:08AM (#38332996)

    Honestly, you're full of crap. It's true, one vote doesn't matter. Especially when your only choice is between a politician who increases spending to buy pork and one that increases borrowing to buy pork.

    But going to party meetings or working for a campaign? That's how things change. It's how the candidates that actually end up on the ballot get determined, and it's how those candidates determine their positions. Go to one of these places, offer to "help" and then while you're there, argue with them. Make them either see it your way or prove you wrong. If you can get them to be candid and admit their position is chosen based on funding or to play on public ignorance rather than based on reason, be their conscience. Be there to show them that you, as a representative of the human race, disapprove of what they're doing, care about it, and want them to change. Sometimes they will. Not all the time, but sometimes.

    Or you can sit at home and bitch about everything on the internet. That's probably just as good.

  • by tsa (15680) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @01:22PM (#38335946) Homepage

    You sound like one of those Linux nerd in the 1990s who shouted that if you complain about there being no driver for a certain piece of hardware you can easily write it yourself. Think before you say something like this. Not everybody is a politician at heart and/or has the time and money and energy to do what you suggest.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. -- Ernest Haskins

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