Interesting Bob Bauer post on, among other things, yesterday’s NYT Herbalife story:
What is missing here is the campaign contribution, or the independent expenditure, or a hint that either is under consideration. This is because, as Pildes suggests, “corporations probably are probably able to attain influence more effectively through spending their money on lobbying specific issues, rather than generally trying to influence election outcomes.” Richard Pildes, How Consequential is Citizens United?, ELECTION LAW BLOG, November 9, 2011, http://electionlawblog.org/?p=25207. Campaign cash still makes its appearance, but not, in a leading role, except that it remains central in the vast majority of conversation, theorizing, writing and reporting about the role of money in politics and the future of reform. Lobbying, along with the related question of the standards of official conduct, lag well behind in these discussions: consider that the first major lobbing law reform came fully two decades after the enactment of the 1974 Watergate-era campaign financing reforms. Yet for interests with billions at stake and much to spend, lobbying and the other forms of paid advocacy and pressure are still the best bet.