Sen Lamar Alexander: if shills have to tell Congress who's paying them, it will "chill speech"



"Scrutiny makes it harder for us to lie."


I don’t know what they are afraid of. It’s not as if disclosure stops them. Paid experts are often listened to. I like Transparemcy, it does help at times, but often it is just a piece of data that people ignore.


That’s simply not true. These politicians are against OSHA’s new policy for the same reason they don’t want us to know who is paying them to hold the views they do. The ridiculous conceit that money paid to politicians’ campaigns isn’t outright bribery is belied by their hesitation to allow “experts” financial ties to be exposed. They know all too well that an expert that has been paid by a party that has interests in OSHA’s decisions, in this case the concrete industry, will not be trusted by OSHA as much as a disinterested party. Everyone knows that money shapes the views of those who receive it both consciously and unconsciously. The only reason OSHA would disregard such payments is if the civil servants who make up OSHA itself are revolving door recipients of corporate largesse themselves. Its clear that OSHA’s move to force disclosure of payments is an attempt to avoid the money corruption that is rampant in D.C. Otherwise they would never have established the new policy. If this policy is allowed to stand for OSHA, how long will it be before other government bureaucracies start to implement similar policies? There are massive tensions between the career civil servants that do the yeoman’s work of our federal bureaucracy and the political appointees that head up these agencies. The career civil servants know all too well that their work is constantly corrupted and distorted by their bosses and the boss of their boss. Many of them despise this situation because they went into government work to make government policy and practice serve the people and the Constitution. If they can win a fight like this and stand their ground, it will embolden other agency careerists to do the same.

I’m very curious to see how this policy at OSHA came about in the first place: either Obama appointed someone who actually wants to make sure OSHA fulfills its mission (which would’ve clearly been a mistake on his part given his track record), or the career people beneath the political appointees have maneuvered them into supporting this policy somehow. Curious situation indeed.


This is the definition of speech where more cash = more speech. So he’s not concerned so much about free speech as free specie.


If these legislators are (mis)using terms like “chilling” then they’re at least hearing, if not listening to, those who would challenge the gagging tendencies of those in authority. Must mean something.


I think they have somehow misunderstood the concept of a “marketplace of ideas”.

Correction: s/somehow/willfully/


Shock News: All politicians are money grubbing psychopaths.

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Not sure I like the term transpency. Is it something you can see through? And does that involve invisibilty? I’d go for a new meme if I could think one up.


Oh, forgot to mention: Senators named Lamar suck at being humans. They seem to thrive at being politicians.


if shills have to tell Congress who’s paying them, it will “chill speech”


I propose a…supplementary… OSHA fact-finding technique. It involves the substance in question, the senate’s ventilation system, and observation of the subsequent displeasure.


Somebody needs to tell the good senator that that is the POINT. They do, in fact, want to “chill” the speech of paid shills. They want actual opinions from real experts, duh, not just paid mouthpieces for the industry.


It will chill speech? Darn good thing too. If ‘experts’ are being paid to lie, I would very much enjoy having their speech chilled.

I don’t see a problem.


I believe Lamar is saying that the undocumented contributions really tie the room together.


It means “projection”.

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the chilling effect the financial disclosure could have seems counter to the idea of robust inclusion of a diverse set of ideas and views to inform the rule-making

Disclosure would shed light on the farce that a diversity of ideas and views are represented, and seems counter to the rules. What would we be as a nation without rules?!?!

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What’s the big deal? Doctors/researchers do this all the time when they give presentations at medical conventions. Or should we not be including legislators as "professionals?

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This is not about legislators disclosing their funding, but about requiring researchers to do so when commenting on potential regulations.

So someone who has done a study that found silica in cement is actually good for you, then they would have to disclose if the study was funded by a cement company.

Similarly, someone who did a study that found silica in cement was worse than cigarettes would have to disclose if their study was funded by the the Enviromental Defense Fund.

As someone else pointed out earlier, a lot of research in areas like this is going to be funded by one group or another so it is important to disclose these financial ties but it doesn’t necessarily immediately negate the usefulness of the research.

But overall, the effect would likely be to weaken the usefulness of industry-funded research, which is probably why Lama Alexander and the other Republicans oppose it.


Lamar Alexander has been a horrible Governor for Tennessee and he continues to be an example of the worst from the Volunteer State. People talk about Al Gore – well, he is nothing compared to this career psychopath as well.