Elizabeth Warren proposes an "excessive lobbying tax" that would fund independent Congressional experts and public participation in policy

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/02/fuck-newt-gingrich.html


This is some thorny stuff. The right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances is right there in the Constitution, and this is going to walk directly into Citizens United territory, it would seem likely.


Also, just look at this!:


Runs right against the First amendment. As Reason magazine puts it, “The Massachusetts senator’s respect for the Constitution knows many bounds.”

We need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It’s a terrible ruling that ensures an oligarchy.


If money is speech (per Citizens United) then speech can effectively be taxed. Libertarians always want to have their cake and eat it, too.


Money is not speech. Speech contains content.


Money is a tool, like a bus. The more you own, the more content (people) you can move.

Disingenuous argument and I think you know it.

The tool does not contain content and as such is not speech. What content you produce with the tool is speech.

A word processor is a tool used to make speech. A paintbrush is a tool used to make speech. Neither the word processor nor the paintbrush are themselves speech.


If I make rifles and I give money to a political campaign I am sending a message by the act alone. Is this not speech?

The act of making the rifles is an act of speech, it is object being acted upon. The rifles themselves are not speech. If you give money to a political campaign, it is not speech because you are not transmitting information: you are enabling others to speak on your behalf. You are giving them an object (money) to imbue with content that is speech.


Criminy, I was trying to make a simple metaphor.

You own money, you own a screwdriver, you own a bus, you can use any to apply a force that makes things happen. You can present your speech to many more people with tools (a billboard, a newspaper, advertising on the side of a bus, advertising inside a bus) than by talking one-on-one.

I don’t agree. Taxing the commercial activities of lobbyist companies does not hinder the free speech of any given person or corporation that hires said lobbyist company.

If your premise was that ‘lobbying is free speech’ then that would mean that lobbyists could do anything they wanted like park on the sidewalk or not pay income tax or eat bald eagles.


No, but citizens may petition the Government for a redress of grievances, on their own or anyone else’s behalf.

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Content in sky:


Anyone can petition the government for themselves. Lobbying demonstrably pisses all over the equal protection clause, because it can be statistically proven that it is cash for laws. You pay your money and the government gives you a law or regulation, that you probably wrote.


I have a solution: corporations are treated no longer as citizens with rights.

Then we can just ignore them. And if they try to lobby (read bribe) anyone we publicly execute the corporation. Possibly by demolishing their HQ while destroying their corporate charter.


What’s the word for that again? Breading? Brephelism? Brontosaurus? BRIBERY! That’s it.


It’s worth remembering that we used to have an entity dedicated to providing congress with independent expertise.

Then we got Newt Gingrich, and the ‘contract with America’ apparently didn’t cover that anymore.

It’d be nice if we could also drive the lobbyists before us; but the idea is likely worth implementing even if that half of the plan doesn’t survive a bribery-is-free-speech theory.


Manufacturing rifles is not speech, it is manufacturing. Pointing a rifle at someone is speech, I have transmitted information. As the manufacturer of rifles, when I “give” to a political campaign it is not a gift, I expect something in return. I have not explicitly “said” it but my intentions are clear. I have transmitted information. The strength of this communication is directly proportional to the amount of money.

(Edit) I do not mean to imply that pointing a rifle at someone is protected speech. That is an altogether different thing, entirely.