Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yet Another Ethical Question.

By Dan Perin

Even though Meredith Attwell Baker, former board member of the Federal Communications Commission, says she followed all rules as she resigned to become Comcast’s senior vice-president for government affairs, the appearance of the move is foggy at the very least.

The move of government employees to private businesses engaged in lobbying for government attention is generally regulated, but it seems there are always loopholes for those who decide they want the more lucrative private industry jobs after they have built a number of connections and alliances during their government employment.

I, for one, am disappointed and discouraged that this practice continues as it is.  It would appear that having a government job at almost any level is simply an apprenticeship for moving into a private sector job where your government “training” can be of benefit to your new employer.  Lobbying has become one of the most prolific industries, particularly in Washington, DC, but also in all of the various state capitols.  Millions of dollars are spent every year attempting to influence legislation, often at a disadvantage to the average taxpayer.  Of course, increasingly, it is the very rich and big businesses that have the money to buy the votes that produce our laws and regulatory rules.  (Or in our current situation, to deregulate industry so it is even more able to milk the economy dry at the expense of the middle class.)

To be honest, I realize that there are many citizen groups with legitimate concerns that urge their representatives in Congress to enact preferred legislation.  That is part of the democratic process.  However, I think we all know the difference between such grass roots groups and the huge lobby groups with their virtually unlimited funds when it comes to whose voice is most apt to be heard.

Just sayin . . .

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