Protesting versus Lobbying: a primer



I’m not a fan of voting.  Won’t do it, can’t do it, don’t care to do it.  I’m also not a fan of protesting.  Even the biggest protest movements tend to fizzle, because no matter how bad the protestors want to make things out to be, it’s not that bad.  Even the lower class has access to things they want and need here in the States, so the protests tend to fall on deaf ears, or the ears of the choir being preached to.

The Power is the Dollar

I do know the power of the lobby dollar, though.  I’ve used money before to meet my “representatives” to let them know I am against certain legislation.  It’s not a big deal — they already know I don’t vote, because the wealthy who connect with them more regularly also don’t vote.  Voting doesn’t bring any real change, it just gives the plebeian class the power to say “OUR SIDE WON!”  It’s like any professional sport: the guys you are rooting for, wearing your city’s logo, probably weren’t born in your city.  They’re ready to move to another city to play as long as the money is better.  Plebeians love when their “side” wins, but they don’t really care about anything else.

What the “Poor” can do

Here’s how a poor person can lobby a politician and actually do more “good” for “change” than a protestor can.  Lobbying as an individual is simple: raise enough money yourself to get invited to a banquet with the politician in mind.  The base minimum for individual lobbying is the FEC limit on an individual contribution: in 2012, that figure is $2500.

How can a poor person earn $2500?  By not protesting anymore.  If you can earn $10 per hour working a part-time job, you can earn $2500 in 52 weeks by working 5-6 extra hours per week.  A strong protestor is likely doing even more than this, and even a weak protestor is spending at least these many hours on Facebook and email and twitter, preaching to the choir.  Go out, get a second job, and sock that income away into a bank account that you strictly use for individual lobbying.

Also, since the $2500 hard limit is per campaign, you don’t need to raise that money in 1 year.  For Congressional support, you do it every 2 years.  For Senate support, it’s every 6.  Cut those weekly hours by 2 or by 6 to see what you really need to work extra to make your individual lobbying dollars work for you.

Put that money to use

After you have your $2500, find a politician.  Contact their campaign headquarters and ask what banquets are coming up.  Explain that you are interested in donating the FEC maximum to the campaign, and you’ll likely get an invitation.  We regular bribers contributors consider this level of lobbying to be the layman’s lobby level.  It’s enough to get you in the door and spend 5 minutes or so with the politician you want to lobby.  I’ve been to a number of these banquets, and usually they only secure 50-100 people, so it’s quite easy to get some time with the politician.  You’ll generally want 2-3 years of these dinners to become part of their circle of known individual lobbyists, but you’ll get there.  Even the biggest Congressional representatives don’t have that many max contributors, unless you live in NYC or LA or another huge urban area.  Even then, you’ll still get your moment.

Money is what makes politicians do the job they do.  They don’t listen to their constituents, and they love protestors since it keeps those very animated characters from working that extra job to lobby the politician’s competitors to make a “change” to the system.

Try it for 2-3 years, you’ll see a difference.  You’ll get invitations to more banquets and can prioritize how you spend that $2500 per election.

The Next Level

If you want to get to the next level of lobbying power, you’ll need about $30,800 per election — this is the FEC limit on donating to a national party committee.  These donations are useful because they get you in the door to the even smaller circle of contributors who get the ear of many politicians at once.  One such party that was held in 2010 that I was aware of had somewhere around 70 elected federal officials having dinner with about as many medium level individual lobbyists.  $30,800 sounds like a lot, right?  It isn’t.  Over a 6 year Senate campaign, that’s $5133 per year.  If you and your significant other can both get a 6 hour per week part time job, you’ll have that cash every 6 years to throw around and get your voice heard.

What’s great about reaching this level of individual lobbying is that it not just gets you the ear of many politicians, it also can get you actual political clout.  Need a little help from a federal agency?  Want a loophole to help you crush your competitors?  How about a few hundred thousand dollars thrown into your district to “help build jobs”?  This is the way to do it.

When laws are written, they generally contain dozens to hundreds of special interest allotments that generally cover these medium level individual lobbyists.  Take a look closer at the laws that have passed that dole out money to various “public interests.”  Oh, they’re funding a new library?  Who is building that library?  Check to see how much they gave to the national party committee in power in their district.  Who’s handling the plumbing, the waste removal, the temp hires?  Check the records — it’s all there.

Go up even higher

Once you’ve seen your campaign contributions at work (usually in the form of your business growing and your competitors getting crushed under the heel of new regulations that surprisingly make their job harder), you’ll probably expand your business.  A strong, politically connected business will add dozens of employees and probably dozens or hundreds of suppliers.  Use this network to make your business even harder to compete with.

“Ask” your top employees and biggest suppliers to “consider” donating to the candidate or party of your choice.  Make sure they make that “voluntary” donation by dropping your name.  Sure, you’re now making hundreds of thousands a year more than you did when you had to work at Target 5-6 hours per week, but you have power over your staff and outside sales reps — use it!  By bringing in 50 or 100 new maximum individual contributors, you can bring in upwards of $250,000 to the candidate of your choice, or up to $3,080,000 to the national party committee you want a stronger alliance with.  That kind of money will truly destroy your competition forever open doors for you!  And to think, just 10 years ago you were out there in the cold, passing out black and white flyers you barely had enough money to copy at Kinko’s.

You have the power as an individual

This, my friends and fans, is where you are powerful as an individual.  How many of your friends are going out 1-2 nights per week, drinking and partying?  Sure, they spend a few hours a week protesting (or Facebook protesting at least).  You are making real change.  By taking care of the politicians who take care of you, your bank accounts will grow, and you’ll be driving that new BMW and living in that penthouse loft you always wanted.  Isn’t that better than freezing out in the cold, chanting with other peers even though no one else is really listening?

Related posts to peruse:

  1. Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Your Street
  2. R.I.P. Steve Jobs: and the ketogenic diet versus pancreatic cancer?
  3. Nownership — the Internet redefines property
  4. The Uselessness of Contracts
  5. Time is not money: money is time, stored.
About A.B. Dada

A.B. Dada resides in Chicago, Illinois and manages a multitude of businesses involved across a wide range of industries.

Comments

  1. So I am trying to follow the math here. In order to get my agenda passed I need exactly 545,000 dollars. This is so I can attend the 218 congressional dinners needed to pass a vote. Then I still run the risk of having the vote killed in the senate. Of course I could try to lobby the senate as well but their voting bloc is even more fucked up and would cost me even more money. We can add in that we would probably need at least two of these dinners per congressman just to get them to take us seriously. [I have dealt with state congressman and senators for years in both my work and politics] they don’t take you seriously for a little while. Not to mention the fact that buying a dinner is nice but they will also want you to help their campaign. At this point with 2 dinners per congressman under our belt that we would need to pass our vote that may still get killed we are over a million dollars in.

    And that is actually a very small sum of money compared to what many lobbying groups give so if their agenda trumps yours guess what? …….your done.

    I like this idea on it’s face but I don’t think it is workable. I also hate the idea of giving thieves money so that won’t rape your side of the city. Now a million man armed march to Washington to protest….. that might work.

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