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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&foolishgames,com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:13PM (#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 @06:21PM (#38330668)
      This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.
      • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:41PM (#38330802)

        idea: funding for pork projects get limited the more people do NOT show up to the polls.

        lets make 'not showing up' an actual vote. a vote to DE-FUND things.

        right now, I voice my dissatisfaction by not voting for the fraudsters (ie, all of them). but it would be nice if I could pull back things I think are wrong without giving the bad guy (note: both guys are bad guys, no matter what or where the issue is) more power I'd do it.

        I want to be able to vote AGAINST things. how about that for an idea?

        will never happen. our system is gamed against us. better luck in the next life. maybe. (then again, I've heard st. peter will be your new 'walking boss')

        • by grahamsaa (1287732) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:59PM (#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.
          • Most countries have election rules that mandate that a certain percentage of the population HAS to show up to vote. If say less then 50% of people who can vote, vote, then the elections are void.

            Another option is the "none of the above", which can be done by casting an invalid vote, which could be used in countries where only votes are counted.

            The rules vary a lot and are difficult to trigger because those that drafted them were probably smart enough to realize that "None of the above" is the only way for a

        • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:35PM (#38332364)
          For all those that think not voting is like boycotting all politicians - it isn't. If you don't vote everyone else's vote counts for a little bit more. The more people that don't vote out of protest, the closer the system comes to an aristocracy.

          The correct way to protest is to make a 'no vote'. This is where you tick all the boxes, or none of them, or you write a message voicing your dissatisfaction on the ballot, or smear faeces or stick chewing gum on the ballot, or you vote for a joke candidate. True this may be difficult in the US where many places don't use paper ballots, and there are often no joke candidates (or at least none that are more of a joke than all the rest.) You should be advocating for an abstain box on electronic voting machines. Not voting is using your voice to agree with the people that do vote.
        • Or you can show up and null vote, at least here in India.

          http://www.pathikshah.com/blog/how-to-register-a-null-vote-rule-49-o/ [pathikshah.com]

          • by tsa (15680)

            We here in Holland can do that too. In that way you can excersise your right to vote AND give the message that you think none of the parties is good enough to get your vote. That is way better than not showing up, because not showing up gives the message that you are too laze or don't give a damn. And in my opinion, if you don't show up you are not entitled to complain. You had your chance to change things but you chose not to, so then you'll just have to face the consequences.

      • by Gr8Apes (679165)

        This crap is precisely the reason me and my peers don't vote.

        And that would be exactly the reason you have no right to a negative opinion.

        Vote for one of your friends - get all all your friends together and vote for them also. Maybe you'll get enough together and win.

        • by joelpt (21056) <slashdot&joelpt,net> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:28PM (#38331134)

          And that would be exactly the reason you have no right to a negative opinion.

          I think non-voters most certainly have a "right" to a negative opinion, whether or not they choose to "voice" that opinion via voting. They simply view voting as a nearly useless (inaudible) way to voice their opinion; or perhaps that increasing the "percent abstained" figure is a more valuable way to express their opinion -- the "vote of no-confidence".

          Personally, I would wager that posting my opinion in the Slashdot comments is likely to have at least as much, if not more, of an impact than visiting the voting booth ever will.

          "If you don't order chicken or beef from the menu, you don't have a right to discuss the morality of animal consumption." But I'm a vegetarian!

        • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:50PM (#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 JDG1980 (2438906) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:38PM (#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.

          • a wealthy corporation can spend millions on campaigns to get the people they want into office.

            Why is it that people are so incapable of thinking strategically?

            Step 1: Get your name on the ballot for the state legislature. This doesn't require a lot of money.
            Step 2: Run a serious campaign. Make your opponent fear losing his seat. Then go to him and let him know that you'll drop out of the race if he gets a bill through the state legislature for public financing of statewide elections, including your state's federal congressional seats.
            Step 3: Repeat Step 2 until either the public finance law is passe

        • This is an all too common moronic point of view.

          If you don't like it run for office yourself herp derp derp

          Really? That's your fucking solution? The problem is structural, not individual. Assassinate every member of congress today, and, no matter who replaces them, we'll have the exact same problems tomorrow.

          It doesn't matter WHO is elected. We know, from actual, factual research, that situation dictates human behavior more than almost any other factor. Put new people into the same situation, and you'll get the same behavior. Voting for new people will fix no

          • OK. What system?

          • Only replacing the entire system will have any effect.

            Your conclusion doesn't follow your premises. You don't have to replace the entire system, you only have to repair the structural flaws that create the incentives that currently exist. The flaw isn't in the idea of democracy, it's in the way we finance elections. The answer is public financing.

            Naturally, that will never pass at the federal level because it doesn't serve the interests of the people who are already there. So do it at the state level. Get a bill in every state legislature that funds candidates

          • by Gr8Apes (679165)

            You need quoting lessons and a dose of IQ, as it's obviously in an extreme lull. I'll spell it out for you:

            If all these disaffected nonvoting people would actually get together and support their own person, they could possibly win, provided they're as big a group as they think they are. If not, well, the small fringe minority rarely wins elections without extreme manipulations of PR - see the GOP in the last couple of decades as a point of reference.

            • If all these disaffected nonvoting people would actually get together and support their own person, they could possibly win, provided they're as big a group as they think they are. If not, well, the small fringe minority rarely wins elections without extreme manipulations of PR - see the GOP in the last couple of decades as a point of reference.

              Yes, they could win. I'm not contesting that. I'm saying it's irrelevant.

              It does not matter who is elected. I don't mean the Democrats and Republicans are the same. I mean it DOES NOT MATTER who is elected because the problem is structural. No matter who you elect, the problem persists.

              You think I don't understand your point. I do. But you're not even wrong.

              People do not behave the way they do because of who they are. They behave the way they do because of WHERE they are. There is plenty of data ba

      • by gmuslera (3436) *
        You should vote against them, if possible. For alternative parties, or for none of the above, or some other way to make it count that you voted, but didnt liked any of the candidates. If enough people vote, but not for them (or better yet, for none of them) the political system should notice how bad things are.

        Of course, if enough people vote for them anyway, even after this and other leaks (wont be surprised if those 2 get reelected if run for congress again), then accept it, your country really like to be
      • by SnapShot (171582)

        Nothing makes these corrupt politicians happier than you not voting. You're not making a stand; you're just making it easier for them to do what their doing.

        • I don't feel as if a stand is being made. It's just a stalemate / horrible situation. And there is nothing I feel I can do about it...
    • Any 3rd party. That way, congress will know that you are disgusted, and not just lazy.

  • by Etz Haim (856183) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:16PM (#38330628) Homepage
    ...that "sopa" means "trash" in Swedish? :)
  • by sconeu (64226) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:23PM (#38330690) Homepage Journal

    And politicians wonder why they get less respect than the IRS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And politicians wonder why they get less respect than the IRS.

      How would they know? People kiss up to them. When you write to them you address them as "Honorable" *snicker*.

      I think it should be proper to address them as "shithead": letters, public speaking, whatever. And during the congressional hearings where those people do their grandstanding and yet do nothing, folks being grilled should answer a question from a Congressman like this, "Well, shithead ....."

  • by DanTheManMS (1039636) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:29PM (#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 mjwalshe (1680392)
      What so you think that anyone cant lobby their representatives is a good idea? is not election its self lobbying ie vote for me not the other person ?
    • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:57PM (#38330910) Homepage Journal

      in the UK, the system is (in theory) better. Any constituent can see their representative on demand, provided the representative isn't busy in the House at that time, so everyone has (in theory) equal access and equal lobbying power. Cash-for-questions and similar direct bribery is off-limits and will get a member sanctioned, banned from the House or forced to quit. Well, provided it's discovered and the ethics committee hasn't been perverted.

      This is not perfect, the system has some unimaginably large holes - apparently large enough to drive 5,600 phone hacking scandals and assorted cash-for-votes scandals through, but when bribery and high-paying jobs aren't merely legal but de rigour - as is the case in the US, it's a whole different ballgame.

      Both systems should be majorly overhauled and the politicians and aides operating in such a manner should be majorly keelhauled, but if only one were to change I think the US should move more towards the UK's standards than the other way round.

      • Any constituent can see their representative on demand, provided the representative isn't busy in the House at that time, so everyone has (in theory) equal access and equal lobbying power.

        Theoretically, you can do that here.

        Of course, the fact that your Representative's office might be 5000 Km away might make that harder than one might initially suspect.

        Plus the fact that if you're not a donor, he knows he can safely ignore you....

    • I don't think lobbying is corrupt - as long as no bribery is involved. Corrupt is something like loading up your cabinet with Goldman Sachs execs because they contributed to your campaign.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:33PM (#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.'

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

    by deanklear (2529024) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:47PM (#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 grcumb (781340) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:53PM (#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.

    • There's a document that is associated with but not (yet) approved by the Occupy movement that looks quite promising to me. Here [dangerousminds.net] is a nicely formatted version of the document. It calls for a General Assembly of delegates in Philadelphia, and lists a Redress of Grievances. There are a few I take issue with and a few I'm on the fence about, but the vast majority of them I see as things that ought to be addressed, and I'm pretty libertarian.

      If they really get their shit together, they will be a force to be r

      • It occurs to me that the "Occupy" group is a response to the "Tea Party", this has become worth watching.
        • Oh I don't think it's a response to the Tea Party. If it is, they're responding to the perversity that the Tea Party became post-hijacking. It looks to me like there are a fair number of common goals. The following are all titles found in OWS Redress of Grievances:

          • Elimination of All Private Benefits and “Perks” to Public Servants
          • A Fair Tax Code
          • Debt Reduction (of the National Debt)
          • Immigration Reform and Improved Border Security
          • End Currency Manipulation
          • Banking and Securities Reform (including
  • Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:49PM (#38330858) Homepage Journal

    First, in some countries this would automatically spark an ethics investigation or be deemed corrupt. It may not be "corrupt" in the US, but I suspect that's more of a relative definition of corrupt than an absolute one.

    Second, the US is ranked 24th in the world on corruption [dailymail.co.uk]. I'd therefore argue that the standards the US government holds itself to is not only nowhere near what it could be, but isn't even anywhere near as good as other nations are managing on a day-to-day basis. This isn't great for smaller nations, though you can understand that they don't have the resources to be equal and of high quality. They also don't have much influence and the impact of corruption is necessarily limited. A fair number are also very new and don't have much experience. A nation like the US is a different matter. They've plenty of resources, they've had three centuries to work out the flaws, and they've far too much power to not be responsible with it.

    The fact that New Zealand, Denmark and Finland are first and joint second respectively (none of whom are permanent members of the UN Security Council, hold nuclear weapons, dominate either the IMF or World Bank, or control vast swathes of international trade) is worthy of great respect. They don't have to be as good as they are, they just are because they by-and-large want to be. Not saying they're perfect, this is a ranking system not a measure against a fixed standard, but it is highly commendable none-the-less.

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

      by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:36PM (#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.
      • Have you ever tried to get a FOIA from a member of Congress? FOIA's work at even the Local level.
    • by Bill Dimm (463823)

      Second, the US is ranked 24th in the world on corruption

      Just to clarify, the article says there are 23 nations less corrupt than the U.S. (not 23 nations that are more corrupt, as one might assume by the way you worded it). Still pathetic, of course.

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:51PM (#38330870)

    Just an idea...

    Occupy The Pirate Bay.

    Someone creates a text file that embodies the disgust and derision of the masses towards SOPA (and all that it represents), then uploads this file to TPB. Everyone that feels sympathetic to the contents of the file can then download it and seed it. The idea is to get a running total of seeds as high as possible--a petition, if you will. Those numbers--seeds and peers--can then be used as an argument against SOPA (or anything like it). Perhaps a "declaration of consumer rights" as we consumers would create one...

    I'd love to see such a thing at the top of TPB listings.

    Now that I think about this, perhaps such an idea could be used to nominate actual laws and bills for consideration by governments.

    • Very few sovereign leaders listen to the views of the unwashed. But sovereign leaders of even third world nations listen to world views.
  • Any sensible person can see that this is a corrupt practice, and Slashdot readers have seen it all before. Is Soulskill trying to incite more useless rants?

    The only useful comment here would be a pointer to someone who could/would resolve the problem.

    If your comment can't offer useful information, please keep it to yourself.

  • The only reason two of them received positions is because there were only two positions available. Had there been three, then three of them would have been in the headlines. I feel for the ones that didn't get hired. There were so many "good" candidates.

  • It may not be directly corrupt, ...

    It is directly corrupt. What it may not be is illegal, but I wouldn't put serious money on that either.

    • The problem is, some grinning showoffs are putting serious money on this. And politicians with quiet constituents are listening with hand extended.
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      The law mostly doesn't apply to congress and even when it does it mostly isn't applied to congress.

  • Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
  • by tsa (15680)

    I said it before and I say it again: corruption is legal in the USA. Maybe not on paper but in practice it has been since a long time.

  • It looks like those that offer the content are free of blame, but those that take the content are guilty. I cannot help but wonder how lobbyists for Drug Cartels, and Sexual Perversions would not benefit from this.

    I question the legality of Lobbyists.

    And NO, businesses are not people, and money does not have a voice. If so, why was there no Homicide investigation for the Upper Big Branch 29? [nytimes.com] Why are Super Pac's allowed to even exist. And influence from the Unknown is Tyranny.
  • Lawyer for the RIAA goes on to become vice president and helps to legislate for more internet censorship/takedowns.
  • At least in Washington D.C. The Whore Capitol of the world.

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