Quantcast

Lobbyists ‘intimidate’ congressional staff after Citizens United decision

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 16:53 EDT
google plus icon
United States Capitol
Topics:
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Some Democratic congressional staffers personally feel a need to respond differently to lobbyists in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, according to a recent survey.

The Citizens United vs. FEC case overturned generations of U.S. campaign law that limited corporate donations and required the identity of donors be disclosed. President Barack Obama and other Democrats have been ardent in criticizing it as permitting limitless corporate influence.

The advocacy group Public Citizen conducted an informal survey [PDF] of 80 Republican and Democratic congressional staff members in which recipients were asked about the effects of the Citizens United ruling.

Fifty-seven percent of Democratic congressional staffers said the decision strengthened the influence of lobbyists in the policy making process. In stark contrast, none of the staff members who worked for Republican members of Congress felt the same way.

Sixteen percent Democratic congressional staffers also said they felt a need to respond differently to lobbyists’ requests after Citizens United, but Republican staffers unanimously said that nothing had changed.

“The results of this survey are concerning, although not surprising,” said Taylor Lincoln, research director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The notion that unlimited outside expenditures would not corrupt the policymaking process was fanciful from the start. This is not a scientific survey, but it shows that outside spending does in fact intimidate congressional staff – and that’s very troubling.”

Democrats had attempted to pass a law — the DISCLOSE Act — to mitigate the effects of Citizens United, but it was opposed by conservatives and failed to clear Congress thanks to a Republican filibuster.

In April, it was revealed that the White House was preparing an executive order that would implement some of the provisions of the DISCLOSE Act by forcing government contractors to disclose their political spending.

In an interview with the New York Times, lobbyist R. Bruce Josten said the Chamber of Commerce would fight the measure with “all available means.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+