This week Senator Chris Dodd went on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to discuss his laudable efforts to pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn the effects of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding corporate free speech. During the interview, Senator Dodd also made reference to something that could be called "The NASCAR Effect."
From "The Colbert Report":
"But the idea that we will be referring to each other not as the Senator from Connecticut or the Senator from California, but the Senator from Alcoa, the Senator from GE or the Senator from some major corporation. You might end up having Senators actually having logos on their coats like they do at NASCAR races identifying which corporations they represent."
Steven Colbert Responds:
"At least you'll know...you'll know, whose interests they are looking after."
Exactly Mr. Colbert!
I think that is exactly what we should call for...I think we should call on the news media to publicly display a politician's top three contributors during news stories.
At this point we have a system of "Stealth" lobbying in which contributors and the substantial role that they play in both influencing and shaping policy is hidden. Further, all industries obviously want this information kept out of the public eye--this is why it is called "stealth" lobbying! Publicly displaying contributors would be a terrifying prospect for both politicians and those who they really work for as they want this information hidden at all costs. There is a reason why the two most prominent sites for revealing lobbying influence are called Opensecrets.org and Maplight.org.
Don't we all want that politician to wear that NASCAR jacket publicly as they now already wear it privately?
Using Senator Chris Dodd as an example of what this small simple change would look like.....As Senator Dodd was shown on camera at some point under his face would appear the following information:
Senator Chris Dodd, Connecticut, Democrat, SAC Capital, Citigroup and United Technologies
Mr. Colbert please feel free to adopt this cause as your own....Instead of calling it: "The Dodd Rule" or "The NASCAR Effect" we could call it: "The Colbert Commandment" or "No Representation Without Presentation"
Comedy Central's "Outstanding" "The Colbert Report" February 9, 2010: Corporate Free Speech - Chris Dodd