Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hope and Change and Lobbyist Money

There is simply no way that 99% of US Citizens can pierce the circle of money and influence surrounding DC and Barack Obama. The President and Congress are like pampered fish, swimming in a sea of special interest money while most US citizens are like visitors to an aquarium with their noses pressed up against the glass.

This is not change and it is certainly not hope, it is MUCH, MUCH more of the same ole crap.


President-elect Barack Obama was a vocal champion of rules enacted last year that prohibit companies and lobbyists from buying anything worth more than $10 for lawmakers. But well-heeled interests have found a way to circumvent the ban by partnering with "state societies" that are throwing parties to celebrate Mr. Obama's inauguration.

These Washington-based nonprofits, whose members include lawmakers, congressional aides, lobbyists and executives from a given state, aren't subject to the ethics law -- even though their social and charitable activities are paid for with corporate money.

Mr. Obama's home state of Illinois, for example, is holding its own inaugural ball on Monday, the night before Mr. Obama is sworn in. It is offering executives of Motorola Inc., Exelon Corp., and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association a chance to pay big money to dine and pose for photos with Illinois lawmakers and incoming Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who recently retired as congressman from the state. The price: $5,000 to $55,000, event organizers said.

Hawaii, Mr. Obama's birthplace, has invited companies and lobbyists who pay as much as $25,000 into a roped-off VIP lounge at its Tuesday night affair, where they can mingle with influential policy makers. Among the drawing cards: Hawaii Sen. Dan Inouye, the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Gen. Eric Shinseki, a Hawaiian tapped to lead the Veterans Affairs Department.