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Lobbying, Politics and Campaign Finance Reform (Essay Sample)

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Lobbying, Politics and Campaign Finance Reform analysis source..
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Alex Friedland Professor Name Class Name 11 November 2014 Lobbying, Politics and Campaign Finance Reform (1) Lobbying is becoming one of the most contentious issues in today’s political world, with extremely wealthy individuals being able to influence the government through this mechanism of action. This definition is upheld in some journals as well: “Lobbying can be defined in the plainest and also most comprehensive terms as the art of persuading politicians. It consists of a set of tools and strategies instrumental to a broader concept, otherwise known as public affairs” (Tanase 57). Some of the most salient issues in lobbying today come in the form of court cases like Citizens United or surrounding corporations such as Hobby Lobby and the agricultural giant, Monsanto. These issues belong to a wide variety of demographic groups, as they involve the businesses that support our everyday lives, citizens, consumers, corporations, shareholders, and workers are almost always directly involved in the legal consequences of these cases that have granted corporations more and more power. Moreover, the rights and responsibilities of issue, on an intuitive basis, consist of the basic rights of citizens to have an unbiased government free of the political influence or financial incentivization by large corporations. Such influence would tip the actions and rulings of the government in favor of corporations and not the citizens and constituents it serves. This represents the fundamental outline of responsibilities the law must have in regard to its citizens as well as the conflict of interest between preserving the rights citizens and boosting the financial gains of corporations. If we look further into particular court cases for the laws being debated and invoked during each case, we find that acts such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and even the U.S constitution being relevant. To illustrate the competition of interests more clearly as well as to show to whom the rights/responsibilities belong, let us take a deeper look at the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case and how rights and responsibilities of law attach themselves to each of the involved parties. Another journal speculates on the possible affects of the ruling in the Citizens United case, which held that the First Amendment disallowed the limitations of spending on campaigns of corporations of all types and even some unions: “By allowing far greater contribution rights to corporations than any time since 1907, Citizens United is changing the role corporations may directly play in elections at all levels...” (Cayce & Lariscy, 146). Obviously, the allowance of corporations to unlimited campaign and communications contributions by any member of the public has wide implications on how successful some corporate PR may be, due to increased funding. It also raises ethical and moral concerns; as these influential corporations are now allowed to shape public opinion without limits. (2) Further, when these interests, rights or responsibilities are conflicting, the ones that should be valued the highest should be those of the citizens. If corporations are simply allowed free reign around a variety of their interests such as funding, their connections to certain politicians may be strengthened and the political world may become more corrupt as a result. As Myers & Cayce state: “Practical implications – In a post-Citizens United era, corporate PR may now be engaged with many forms of highly political communications” (146). The mechanism of lobbying has been granted wider power as corporations have increased their power through the passing of certain recent laws. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby illustrates one of these examples, where it had been ruled that religious freedoms must be preserved for closely held corporations, allowing such corporations to reject certain laws if alternative methods of enforcement are possible. The congressional document states: “We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless the action constitute the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest” (Cornell). This leads to a slippery slope, as corporations could potentially now violate laws using the excuse that such laws violate their religious practice. In a rather polemical piece, it is argued: “RFRA, to put it bluntly, invalidated every federal, state, and local law in the country as it applied to anything claiming to be a practice of religion…” (Granados 6). Obviously, by valuing the rights of the citizens over the profits and power of the corporations, the corporations suffer but the political and regulatory integrity of the country is preserved: a much greater priority than immediate economic gain. The Hobby Lobby case clearly illustrates possible erosion in the rights of the citizens in the light of corporate interests. (3) The law on the issue must favor the citizen reasonably in every case that presents a conflict of civilian right and corporate rights. This is because granting significant laws in favor of corporations’ rights over the rights of citizens erodes the political basis of the government and stability of society. Elizabeth Warren exemplifies some of the best criticisms on the expansion of corporate rights as well as the increasing practice of lobbying. She harshly criticizes the practice of lobbying, asserting: “At this very minute, lobbyists and lawyers are lining up by the thousands to push for new laws – laws that will help their rich and powerful clients get richer and more power” and “Before leaders in Congress and the president get caught up in proving they can pass some new laws, everyone should take a skeptical l...
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