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Lobbyists expect a return

When I practiced medicine, representatives from pharmaceutical firms swarmed my office like flies, offering me drug samples, free dinners, even all-expense-paid trips. I initially thought they were just congenial guys and gals who liked my style, but eventually it dawned on me that they expected me to do a little something in return, like writing numerous prescriptions for their increasingly expensive products.

Forgive my cynicism, but I suspect the same of lobbyists. Our Congressman, John Doolittle, can contend all he likes that Jack Abramoff’s campaign donations didn’t influence the way he voted. Give me a break: if that’s true, then Washington’s lobbyist horde is in business only out of pure philanthropic sweetness. In refusing to return the donations, Doolittle maintains he didn’t do anything wrong since the contributions were legal. He’s missing the point. The question isn’t whether they were legal; legal or not, they look to all the world like payment for services rendered.

Jeff Kane



Nevada City


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