Man Bites Own Hand That Feeds Him

Gerald Cassidy, a "godfather" of the modern lobbyist profession tells Roll Call he supports public financing of elections saying the expectation that lobbyists will get involved in the fundraising game for members of Congress had taken a lot of fun out of the job, even as it has introduced even more suspicion about how lobbyists and lawmakers interact.

 

The full article is available only to subscribers, but here's his argument in favor of public financing:

 

" 'I would love to see public financing,' [Gerald Cassidy] said in an interview at Cassidy & Associates headquarters, which are decorated in the deep blues and golden yellows of official Washington. 'And I would go along with limits on the contributions from lobbyists. It would take away any public suspicion that money makes a difference.'

The idea of a major campaign contributor like Cassidy coming out for public financing was one of the ironies to emerge from the conversation with Cassidy.[...]

Cassidy said he doesn't mind the recent gift ban and other reforms of lobbying and earmarks, but added, 'It seems to me to be the wrong end of the problem. The real issue is money and how much money there is in politics.' One of the potential consequences of the reforms, lobbyists say, is that the Member-lobbyist relationship easily could become even more focused on fundraising, since those interactions would not be curbed. All told, Cassidy said, the pressure of raising money and the influence of campaign consultants has resulted in a lobbying environment that is simply less enjoyable than it once was."

 

So, direct from the horse's mouth as it were: fundraising dominates politics and even the people who might benefit from it think it's a problem. It's time for public financing.