business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports that "under the withering microscope of government watchdogs, tech companies including Amazon, Facebook and Google have funded a bevy of political groups that have helped push positive polling and engaged in other fingerprint-free tactics designed to deter regulators who seek to break up or penalize the industry. The approach reflects the growing threats they now face from the Justice Department and the country’s top attorneys general, who have been investigating them on antitrust grounds.

"The Connected Commerce Council, for example, is a Washington-based nonprofit that bills itself as a voice for small businesses. But it counts Amazon, Facebook and Google as 'partners,' and in recent months the group known as 3C has put its muscle to work arguing that Silicon Valley giants do not threaten competition, stifle smaller rivals and harm consumers in the process."

The story goes on:  "Silicon Valley tech giants — and companies across a range of industries — often back a wide array of advocacy groups to boost their political fortunes. They aren’t required to disclose how much they spend on these organizations and exactly how involved they are in their day-to-day decisions, but ethics watchdogs say their participation alone is important."

KC's View:

Put me down as being on the side of any group that pushes for legislation requiring any lobbying group to make public the name of every person and entity that contributes $100 or more to their organization.  No exception - and the listing would have to be posted online - clearly and unambiguously - as quickly as it takes the check to clear.

It is both eminently possible and in my view, an utter prerequisite for a free society in which we all deserve better than the best government money can buy.

This ought to be easy legislation to write - though, I'm sure, much harder to pass … since politicians on both sides of the aisle would resist such transparency.  But if I were running for office, I'd make this a central plank in my platform.