For Lobbyists, How Much Is a Senate Connection Worth?

The revolving door between Capitol Hill and Washington’s lobbying community has long been a concern, even prompting a crackdown by Barack Obama. A new paper from Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca and Christian Fons-Rosen attempts to measure the extent of the problem by quantifying the value of the personal connections many lobbyists “acquire[d] during their public service.” They find that “[l]obbyists with experience in the office of a U.S. Senator suffer a 24% drop in generated revenue when that Senator leaves office.” Furthermore, said Blanes i Vidal in a press release: “Our estimates can be interpreted as the price of accessing or influencing politicians. Access or influence can be systematically bought and sold. This means that if you have the money, you can hire a lobbyist with political connections and improve your chances of affecting policy.”? The CliffNotes version of the paper can be found on YouTube. [%comments]


Brett

Do you really think Obama cracked down on this? It is time we actually judge Obama on what he has done, not what he said he was going to do.

LeonorCMS

Having a connection in the Senate might be effective at the moment, since people with money are paying a lot of money for a policy to be passed. Yet on the long run this will not be beneficial since the United States will be losing a lot of money that could be spent in the improvement of the country, possibly being able to decrease corruption. USA will lose money on the long run because having decisions being taken into consideration because of political connections does not seem to take into consideration the needs of the country. These policies were passed in only benefiting the needs of this individual with money. These policies might not have been wisely thought out, making these not very beneficial for the future.

The US should invest its money on the education on the country, to make them aware that corruption is taking place in places one would not have thought, and what action should be taken against this.

The opportunity cost of accepting money or other forms of bribing seems too big since the whole country, and possibly other countries, could be negatively affected by these decisions.

Read more...

David Chowes, New York City

Almost an infinite amount -- the best investments a corporate interest can make.

E.g., if say, Exxon/Mobil gives $500,000 to senators and congressman for legislative favors (via K Street), they could
repeap more than a thousand times the contributions given.

A totally winning investment.

As the Supreme Court has recently decided that corporations have the same rights as "people" to give political contributions -- we are now swiftly on the road to facism: the merger of corporate interests and the super wealthy with government.

We had better learn Spanish (and Portugeuse) because our countty will soon resemble a South American nation with the about 2% very wealthy and the rest... With nominal "elections" and almost no middle class -- which is necessary for a functioning democracy.

frankenduf

i agree with David Chowes- the really shocking thing is that the presumed 'intellectuals' on the court don't even have a basic understanding of how corruption impairs democracy- a true case of ivory tower academia where obviously bright minds forget how the real world works

Comrade Rutherford

"the presumed 'intellectuals' on the court don't even have a basic understanding of how corruption impairs democracy"

But they do, the far-right wingers on the court know exactly what they are doing.

JohnF

It is amazing to me that people can so misconstrue the Supreme Court's ruling. The Court did not, as Mr. Chowes says, decide "that corporations have the same rights as "people" to give political contributions," but only that corporations and unions have the same right as people to speak about politics and buy ads publicizing their views. They are not entitled to make contributions to politicians. It is widely expected that this ruling will benefit unions more than corporations, since corporations that sell things to the public will fear backlashes from large chunks of their buyers while unions have more captive supporters.

Paul

@JohnF The Supreme Court gave "corporations and unions have the same right as people to speak about politics and buy ads publicizing their views".

Which is more valuable to a Seantor looking to be re-elected? The money to buy the ads, or the actual ads? I can't see the difference, and I would venture neitehr does any Senator. Sounds like am in kind donation.

myron

@#6 "It is widely expected that this ruling will benefit unions more than corporations, since corporations that sell things to the public will fear backlashes from large chunks of their buyers while unions have more captive supporters."

What a laughable argument. Which group has the most money available to fund these "announcements"? Even if individual corporations throw a fraction of their money into political speech when compared to the unions, the cummulative amount will dwarf the resources available to the unions. And they will launder the bulk of the "backlash" announcements through business associations like the Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups.

Any way you slice it, this ruling is bad for democracy and yes, the right wing court knew what it was doing.