What are some solutions to minimize the effects of corporate lobbying without eliminating the right of lobbying? We know that corporate lobbies have a disproportionate power relative to ordinary citizens, but what are some solutions that were implemented or suggested for it?
I would propose that all lobbyist interactions with elected officials are treated as public communications. No closed doors - if the lobbyist wants to educate a lawmaker on a particular subject, the meeting must be open to the public and on-record. All materials provided to the official must also be made available to the public. This not only provides a forum for interested parties to provide counter points to special interest propaganda, but it also makes expensive retreats nearly impossible if the venue has to allow entrance to the press and the general public.
This also, then, makes unnecessary any restrictions on ex-lawmakers becoming lobbyists as it severely reduces any unfair influence that lobbyists can provide - no private lunches or closed-door meetings between "old friends". An ex-lawmaker's advantage as a lobbyist would be his familiarity with being on the other side of the table, not from his contacts and residual influence (or at least only minimally so).
This does not address campaign contributions, which while often part of the lobbying process, is its own thing. Also, the idea is nascent and nowhere near completely developed, but it provides a solid foundation for moving ahead with meaningful reform.
One way to attenuate lobbying is stop making the Federal government such an attractive target for lobbying.
The federal government’s now the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health care provider, and pension guarantor.
The perverse size, scope and reach of our federal government encourages rent seeking basically everywhere. Cut it, and devolve power and money back to the states and the people.
Specific to corporations, (not sure why you left out trade unions or non-profits), the regulatory state serves as the first line of defense against competition and innovation. It may seem perverse, but several industries benefit, and lobby for, barriers to entry through the regulatory state, which lobbyist leverage for their benefit, none more so in the banking industry
Compliance and licensure costs are disproportionately damaging to smaller firms. A large-cap financial services provider does not have to allocate as large of a percentage of its resources to ensure it does not run into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or a host of other agencies and laws.
Curtail the regulatory reach of these acts and bodies would decrease lobbying.
Another option would to ban the practice of lobbyists writing draft and actual legislation, an abhorrent tactic and complete dereliction of duty by the Congress. Seemingly this could be stopped by simple House and Senate rule changes.
And failing that tax it. As Chief Justice John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland demonstrated, the power to tax is the power to destroy.
- New legislation specifically banning corporations from lobbying or donating funds for lobbying.
It would hardly be anything new to separate one element of an individuals rights & make that an acception to the legal rights of companies as legal entities, after all they don't get a vote in elections do they, so the precedent for exceptions to a company's rights as a 'person' is clearly already set.
That doesn't eliminate the right to lobby for real people, but if you meant it to apply to corporations as well as people won't slide under your bar on eliminating the right of lobbying?
- A low legal limit to the $ amount any individual can contribute to political causes or lobbying.
Those are the two obvious ones that spring to mind.
Either of them alone or both together should help (if provided with adequate penalties & enforced).