Commissioners should not hire lobbyists
In the story “County commissioners, legislators continue reflection on legislative session” in the April 27 edition of the Maryland Independent, the Charles County Board of Commissioners appeared to be gloating and, as usual, patting themselves on the back, for having hired a powerful Annapolis lobbying firm to represent them in connection with their so-called legislative agenda. It should be emphasized that the legislative agenda is largely developed in response to and to appease special interest groups that often employ their own lobbyists so this double deuce (smelly pun intended) approach seems like a bit of overkill as well as an insult to those of us not wealthy enough to employ a lobbyist.
In all seriousness, many of us ordinary, middle income, taxpaying citizens, who are not represented by powerful lobbyists, are of the opinion that professional career politicians, who seem to be swayed only if wined and dined by powerful lobbyists, represent that which is rancid and wrong with politics at both the federal and state level. The fact that many of the professional career politicians only leave their cushy elected positions if they have a lucrative job offer from a lobbyist seems somehow to feed the growing distrust of lobbyists and the seemingly growing, largely inexplicable wealth of professional career politicians.
To address the issue of using our hard earned tax money to hire a lobbyist, one needs to begin with the question: Why is this necessary? Excuse me, but my view of government is that our elected professional career politicians in Annapolis are the parties responsible for advancing legislation affecting our locality in the state legislature and our commissioners (Yes, our commissioners) are responsible for making the case to the professional career politicians. It was reported at the time the decision was made to retain the hired gun that the lobbying firm was “vetted” through one of the professional career politicians. If this is not a conflict of interest, it should be. The ethics of asking a professional career politician if a firm whose only role is to sway legislators is acceptable somehow escapes all logic — particularly if a particular lobbying firm engages, has engaged or has any possibility of engaging the particular professional career politician.
As a middle income, taxpaying citizen who is distressed with the unconscionably high taxes of Charles County, I suggest that the commissioners re-evaluate the need for wasting our tax dollars on a matter where there is no evidence of any real value to this county or to the state. In my Mark Twain inspired distaste of professional career politicians, perhaps it might be more beneficial to kick the tax money funneled to the lobbying cabal into some of the various and sundry reelection funds and leadership funds that the professional career politicians seem to be amassing. Cut out the middlemen. Also, consider using the money directly to buy the votes of the Jackwagon legislators. Frustration with and distrust of government can only continue to grow if tax money is used for such good olde boy, scratch my back, fish fry politics as seems evidenced by the retention of paid lobbyists to obtain votes of professional career politicians. Gail Hopkins, Charlotte Hall