Rocky Vega

Our friend Barry Ritholtz over at The Big Picture recently came across a Time article that sheds a little light on how lobbyists so effectively spin straw into gold for companies with deep pockets.

As he puts it, the subtitle for the piece tells you everything you need to get the idea,“Why Lobbying Is Washington’s Best Bargain; Lobbyists say for just a few million, they can make clients billions.”

Here’s the quote Ritholtz cites from Time:

“Lobbyists [are] the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses.

“According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided “input and technical advice on various tax matters” to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds.”

He also points out this particularly egregious example of lobbyist alchemy:

“Auto Dealers made out even better: They dropped less than $10 million dollars ($6.3 million on lobbying, and an additional $3.4 million in campaign contributions). For their troubles, the dealers get to keep $20 billion each year in undisclosed added interest and fee kickbacks to over-priced loans.”

It’s not necessarily true throughout history or for all its members, but the purchasable decision-making in Congress seems to no longer even bother being discreet. Sheesh. You can read Ritholtz’ complete thoughts on the matter, including a derivatives trading banks example, in his Big Picture post on government for sale.

Best,

Rocky Vega,
The Daily Reckoning

Rocky Vega

Rocky Vega is publisher of Agora Financial International, where he advances the growth of Agora Financial publishing enterprises outside of the US. Previously, he was publisher of The Daily Reckoning, and founding publisher of both UrbanTurf and RFID Update -- which he ran from Brazil, Chile, and Puerto Rico -- as well as associate publisher of FierceFinance. Rocky has an honors MS from the Stockholm School of Economics and an honors BA from Harvard University, where he served on the board of directors for Let?s Go Publications, Harvard Student Agencies, and The Harvard Advocate.

  • chris

    Wow, how do I sign up to be a government lobbyist? I can provide the technical advice.

  • http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=13693926172283633508&hl=fil jewelry stores san diego

    Some in the 1930s, more in the war, then it just about stopped happening until the 1960s. Interesting. And more recently, of course, it became rarer because CG of all sorts became rarer.

Recent Articles

Addison Wiggin
A Manifesto, of Sorts

Addison Wiggin

More than a decade ago, Addison Wiggin helped co-found the Daily Reckoning with Bill Bonner. Today, he recalls this life-changing experience, and explains how - despite being rooted in the world of finance - it is and will always be about much more than money. Read on...


4 DIY Halloween Costumes You Can Make in 10 Minutes or Less

Peter Coyne

Halloween is tonight! And just in case you waited until the last second to think about what you're going to wear, here are four costume ideas you can easily put together in about 10 minutes or less. With these costumes you'll be the hit of your friend's party - provided you're friends with a bunch of economists. (Downloadable masks included...) Happy Halloween!


Bill Bonner
4 Basic Truths to Help You Navigate the Financial News

Bill Bonner

The financial news is full of misinformation - reported by unreliable pundits and taken at face value by an easily swayed public that doesn't really no better. That's why today, Bill Bonner relays the four basic truths he's discovered during his 30 year career in the financial industry to help you make sense of it all. Read on...


Extra!
How YOU Can Help Pass the Swiss Gold Referendum

Grant Williams

For those who doubt the effectiveness of the Swiss Gold Initiative, Grant Williams has a few startling charts to show you. Today, he relays just how popular this movement is, and how you can actually influence the outcome... no matter where in the world you call home. Read on...


How Small Cap Stocks Saved the Market

Greg Guenthner

For most of the year, no one wanted small cap stocks in their portfolios. But over the last three weeks, few sectors of the market have performed better than small caps. Greg Guenthner explains how to use this to your advantage... and what to expect for the rest of 2014. Read on...