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Who Writes the Bills Anyways?

December 2, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Ahead of the December 15 Judiciary Committee markup, the corporate sponsors of the SOPA web censorship bill are making some last minute tweaks to the legislative language:

The Motion Picture Association of America is willing to change some of the language to tone-down the controversial, much-maligned Stop Online Piracy Act that it supports, according to a report in the New York Times late Wednesday.

MPAA exec Michael O’Leary said in an afternoon press call that the agency “will come forward with language that will address some of the legitimate concerns,” of those opposed to the bill, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Zynga and myriad other Web companies and advocacy groups.

Back in the old days, Congress was a branch of the federal government, separate from corporations, that wrote and passed laws to defend the general welfare of the United State. These days, however, that work is being outsourced to private interests while the actual members of Congress, quaint as they are, spend their time fundraising for their next re-election campaign.

I don’t know about you, but an alarm still goes off in my head when I read that a corporate trade groups is talking openly about being willing to change legislation and that they will be bringing new legislative language to the table. But that’s increasingly the reality of how legislating in Congress works. In the current session of Congress, the number of lobbyists working as congressional employees has increased by more than 100 percent from the previous session. Until we achieve comprehensive electoral reform, including public financing of campaigns, the intertwining of Congress and corporations is only going to get more extreme.

Pictured above is Sen. Chris Dodd, who retired from the Senate last year and is now working as Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. 

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