Why Congress Relies on Lobbyists Instead of Thinking for Itself

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Media Outlet: The Atlantic

Convincing Congress, especially this Congress, to invest in its own staff capacity clearly won’t be easy. But neither is it inconceivable. Even small-government conservatives are feeling pressure to do something about the influence of corporate lobbying. Improving congressional capacity is a reform action they can take that would increase their own power, wouldn’t force them to agree with liberal get-the-money-out-of-politics types, and wouldn’t directly cross the corporate lobbying community. For those concerned about the malign influence of corporate power on our democracy, increasing government’s in-house nonpartisan expertise is almost certainly a more promising path forward than doubling down on more traditional reform strategies.  

Author:

Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at New America. He is the author of The Business of America is Lobbying (Oxford University Press, 2015).