Regardless of political affiliations, I think we can all agree that lobbying is a big problem in U.S. politics. When you vote a politician, you are voting for them to represent you. So when a corporation with a hand full of cash swoops in and says “Hey, support this bill we’re drafting and this money is yours,” a conflict of interest arises. They’re no longer representing the people who voted them in, but rather the people who can throw them the right amount of money. It doesn’t take a genius to see the problem here.
Although we all know politicians make big money from lobbyists, we rarely actually see the transaction take place. Money is typically donated electronically out of the sight of the public eye. What would it look like if a lobbyist tried to hand a politician a bag of cash in the middle of an event? Someone from activist organization Represent.Us recently tried it out.
A man from Represent.Us went to a social meeting hosted by Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes (R) with a bag full of cash and pretended to be a Citi Bank lobbyist. Citi Bank is Rep. Himes single biggest donor. Lobbyists from the bank wrote nearly all of a bill sponsored by Himes that aims to peel back regulations on many of the financial techniques responsible for the 2008 Wall Street collapse.
At the meeting, the Represent.Us man approaches Himes and introduces himself as a Citi Bank lobbyist. He congratulates him on his work, and then goes to hand him a bag full of money. Before he can do so, the man purposefully drops the bag and the money spills out all over the floor. The people hosting Rep. Himes meeting made the Represent.Us faux lobbyist leave immediately. Funny how Rep. Himes and his team seem to think money should only be transferred behind closed doors.
Represent.Us caught the whole thing on video. Check it out below. Personally, I’m still a big fan of the idea that congressman should be required to wear pins with the logos of the corporations that fund them. How great would it be to see the same representatives always fighting against raising the minimum wage wearing Walmart smiley pins on their suits?