Bear with me, because what you’re about to see is supposed to funny, but also needs to be explained. In legislators’ mailboxes today was a flier purporting to be from the “Trust Your Georgia Legislators Committee.” (There is no such committee.) The flier, using a style that can only be described as “attempted tongue in cheek,” claims a membership of three long-time and respected lobbyists Trip Martin, Rick Thompson and Jet Toney, who “are working to stamp out the abuse of free speech rights.” Using a strike-through font and quotations from an AP article, the authors -oh hell, look for yourselves:
The problem here is that this technique is too subtle, and not funny. Professional lobbyists are, well, professionals. Ethics reformers are seeking to demonize them as corporate hired guns who manipulate rather than influence. These self-anointed “citizen advocates” engage in exactly the same behavior as the lobbyists they smear -only with ZERO accountability and ZERO transparency. And now, with total anonymity as well. What brave, noble Americans they are.*
There is nothing wrong with attempting to influence legislation. There is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist. There is nothing wrong with demanding ethics reform either, but there is something very wrong with trying to say that your particular type of legislative influence is sunshine and apple pie, while the legislative influence practiced by others (professionals with standards, transparency and accountability) is a cancer on the body politic. Badges? You “reformers” ought to try sackcloth and ashes.
*To the authors of the flier, THAT is how you do sarcasm.