Do Lobbyist have much more power in Washington then The Will of the People of the USA?
The Boston Globe
Lobbyists step up efforts to reassure on nuclear energy
By Theo Emery and Donovan Slack
Globe Staff / March 17, 2011
WASHINGTON — The nuclear power industry has mounted a concerted lobbying push on Capitol Hill this week to reassure members of Congress who are concerned about the Japanese nuclear plant disaster and potential for a similar incident in the United States.
The effort is part of the industry’s response to a crisis that has spurred calls for a moratorium on nuclear power permits and raised questions about financial incentives the industry has secured during the quest for energy sources that do not contribute to global climate change.
The industry’s success at explaining the technical issues and addressing concerns of elected officials and the American public could prove pivotal to the future of nuclear power, which is beginning to enjoy renewed support more than three decades after the Three Mile Island accident essentially killed new plant construction in the United States.
The industry boosted its cam paign donations and lobbying activities in recent years and has enjoyed greater influence in Washington, muscle that has been on display since last week’s earthquake and tsunami threw reactors on the Japanese coast into a state of emergency.
“They have a very powerful lobbying force, which is being felt on the Hill right now,’’ said Representative Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and a longtime critic of the industry who has called for a timeout on permits for plants in earthquake zones, one of the few members of Congress calling for a halt.
Since the weekend, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s trade organization, and its members have dispatched representatives to conduct large-scale briefings and have prepared fact sheets for lawmakers about safety threats in Japan. The group has been firing off e-mail updates, some countering the most foreboding elements of news coverage.
A representative sat in a hearing room yesterday as lawmakers peppered federal officials with questions about nuclear safety.
Leslie Kass, the institute’s senior director of business policy and programs, confirmed that the organization is undertaking an “above average’’ information blitz to answer questions and help lawmakers wade through the torrent of news — some conflicting — coming out of Japan.
“It’s obvious that people need information. Some of them are seeking us out. We’re making it convenient for them to come and get the information, because it’s important for policy makers to have facts,’’ she said.
The effort has appeared to help the industry avoid sharp political shifts in Washington. The Obama administration and most Republicans and Democrats in Congress have refrained from calling for a slowdown on permits. In Germany, Switzerland, and China, by contrast, officials have suspended new approvals.
In recent years, the industry’s representatives have been regular visitors to members of Congress and their staffs, as are lobbyists for other energy interests seeking to protect or win new profits as the nation debates its energy future. There are 104 commercial reactors operating at 64 plants across the United States, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They generate roughly 20 percent of the country’s electricity. The NRC has not issued a license for a new reactor in more than 30 years, but there are 18 applications for new reactors pending.Continued...
The Nuclear Energy Institute’s political action committee has more than doubled its campaign contributions during the past decade, from $157,000 in 2001 and 2002, to $470,000 in 2009 and 2010, spreading its money among Democrats and Republicans alike. Separately, political action committees associated with the 14 companies seeking to build the new
- 10 years agoFavorite Answer
Yes. Refer to the recent Citizen's United v. Federal Elections Committee decision. Hotly contested and fo good reason... the corporations won power over voters to influence policy. That was the nail in the coffin of democracy. Corporations now own our legislators the rest is a show. People should open their eyes. Together, bi-partisan voters, USA Citizen's, WE need to opposed CU v FEC.
- Anonymous10 years ago
They have more power than the politicians they lobby. The will of the people have no power.
The lobbyist represent the big wealthy corporation that run this country. They pay our politicians to do what they want, vote they way they want them to and even set policies. The will of the people doesn't exist, except for the lobbyist and our politicians they make so wealthy.
- 10 years ago
Yes. The money whores on both sides of the aisle need corporate donations to finance their campaigns - the legislators only have to consult their voting public every few years. Most people don't pay attention to how their Senator or Representative votes on any given issue - so they lose their power by default to the corporate culture.
- A.R.Lv 610 years ago
Lobbyists skew political power away from the citizens of this country. The average person's voice is stifled because of these groups. They should be drastically curtailed, regulated, or outlawed completely. It's politics for sale. The very root of corruption.
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- LeesabratLv 610 years ago
Absolutely. Congress is beholden to the people that fund their campaigns, and it is no longer their constituents. When a lobbyist who brought in millions for their last campaign tells them "vote this way or I will fund your opponent's campaign next time," which way will they vote?
We are no longer "of the people." We are now "of the money."
- PonchLv 410 years ago
Lobbyists are the reason that the desire of an elite few outweighs the need of an overwhelming majority.
- RickLv 610 years ago
Money rules in American politics.
Join the mantra:
Campaign finance reform!
Without those changes, nothing else will change.
- Dave87gnLv 710 years ago
yes, they do.. lobbyists killed the public option which was polling at 67%
lobbyists have us in Afghanistan which most Americans think we should leave
Lobbyists gave us tax cuts for the rich and corporate welfare, and outsourcing of jobs...etc
- nostradamus02012Lv 710 years ago
our govt has proven too weak to stand up to the legalized bribery that corporations offer - so now it's up to us.
it's time to give some of these anti-american corporations some very tough marketplace love.
- Anonymous10 years ago
Sure seams that way