Professor Brad Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, has an excellent, short op-ed in USA Today discussing calls for stricter lobbying regulations. As Smith notes, lobbyists like Jack Abramoff are only a symptom of a more fundamental problem, one that can’t be addressed through laws that burden the First Amendment right to lobby the government:
The problem is power, and the government has too much of it. When the government spends $3.6 trillion dollars annually, including substantial amounts trying to pick "winners" in green industries or bailing out companies and even whole industries; when it operates a tax code designed to "nudge" people to preferred activities and purchases; when it claims the right to regulate every aspect of your life—then you are going to have lobbyists seeking to influence what that government does. Until the power is gone, the lobbyists, and the favoritism that creates them, will remain.
Read the whole thing.