Sunday, July 19, 2009

Contracted line-holders and Washington Lobbyists

Would you stand in line at a public hearing overnight for $11 to $35 an hour? Even better question is should you be allowed to?

The trend in Washington seems to leaning towards so called "Contracted line-holders." A lot of lobbying groups it turns out are paying homeless men and women in Washington to stand in line outside hearing rooms and save them a spot. These "Contracted line-holders" stand in line overnight, cash it in and are replaced by actual lobbyists in the morning. Is that fair? Does it make any sense?

I first heard of this trend a couple of years ago when Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri introduced a bill opposing it. Earlier tonight I asked her if there is progress with the with bill under this new congress because I hadn't heard anything. I am waiting for a response.

Kudos to CNN for bringing this to light again today.

I just can't think of a reason why this practice should be legal. Where else can you get away with this with there being a big commotion or fight? Can you paying someone to stand in line for you at a Black Friday sale? Same goes for highly sought sports or concert tickets. What would your reaction be if the last seat went to someone who was just in there to make a few bucks?

I'm sorry, but getting homeless people some money is not a good enough to justify this. If anything it is an exploitation of these people.

Has President Obama chimed in on this yet? I don't remember this having come up with him during the campaign or since he took office. A quick Google search didn't turn up anything for me. Didn't he crack down on lobbyists when he first took office? How is this any difference then lobbyists taking congressmen out for lunch or buying them gifts? These companies are paying large sums of money and getting into these hearing and getting to air out their views to lawmakers at the expense of the public? Why is there not a bigger deal made out of this? Surely I'm not the only one bothered by I?

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