Michael Barone's "In Defense of Lobbyists" [June 23-30] was a whole page and he didn't once address the problem: lobbying equals bribery.
If you try to bribe a cop, you will get a ticket. If you try to bribe a judge, you will go to jail. But if you make a large "contribution" to a Washington politician or his party, you may be rewarded with a multi-billion dollar, no bid government contract. Once money enters the equation, lobbying is nothing more that legalized graft.
Richard J. Lee
Barone writes to defend lobbyists. He says lobbyists are stigmatized by the notion that the failure to produce legislation in the public interest stems from the existence of lobbyists. He claims the statement is nonsense. I say it is not nonsense, but the truth. There are many examples of gifts, benefits and vacations, lobbyists use to push their interest. Their interest is to make as much profit as possible and has little or no concern for public interest.
I am afraid that Barone has gotten it all wrong. There is nothing wrong with lobbying. Lobbying is a pillar of democracy. What is wrong is the bribing with money or otherwise in order to thwart democracy by giving more weight to a cause which, otherwise, doesn't have the democratic support. There are many things which corrupt our system of government, such as the midnight habit of adding surreptitious addendums to bills, but lobbying is not one of them...except when bribing is involved!