When lobbyists push for legislation, they are expected to use their own money. They have to shoulder the expenses of promoting new laws for their own agendas. You want change the law for your own benefit? Then spend your money convincing the government that your arguments are valid.
This is perfectly legal – unless you use federal money and not your own money to finance the lobbying.
Washington-based Cause of Action is accusing local governments in Philadelphia, Los Angeles County and other local governments of misusing federal money.1
Federal grants amount to more than $630 million has been doled out to 30 states with the aim of educating citizens about the risks of tobacco use and obesity. Cause of Action, however, has obtained certain documents suggesting that this money was used to lobby for taxes on sugary beverages or encouraging the adoption of new policies.
Cause of Action is now appealing to the Department of Justice to investigate the misuse of these federal grants.
But what does this have to do with you in the first place?
Well, let’s say that this federal money was instead intended for helping low-income families find housing. Or how about helping pay for day care while you are busy making a living. Or let’s say the money has something to do with food stamps. And then some sneak in your local government is using that cash to push forward a change in the law in his favor instead of getting you a place to stay in or a day care specialist to watch over your child.
The whole point here is that we have to keep watch over what our government is doing with money that is supposed to help you and me. We need this now more than ever if we want to prove to the cost-cutting hawks in government that federal aid and grants are having a positive effect on society.
And then we do, of course, need that money to help make our lives a little bit more tolerable in today’s economically challenging times.