We all know that lobbyists use their moneyed connections to influence legislation, corrupting the voice of the people and buttering up lawmakers with luxurious steak dinners in dark, smoky rooms, right? Well, the real story might be a bit more complicated than that, as Josh Horowitz, our intrepid investigative reporter, discovered on his recent trip to Washington, D.C.
Corporations spend 34 times what unions and public interest groups invest in lobbying. But all kinds of organizations are hard at work trying to shape policies that affect lives in meaningful ways. Take the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed thanks to the efforts of the lobbying group, the National Disability Rights Network. Really, a lobbyist’s power derives from her ability to speak directly with lawmakers about the issues that matter most to their constituents (or, okay, in some cases, financial backers).
Recent legislation hasn't improved relations between voters and lobbyists, however. With 2010's "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision, special interest groups were given exponentially more power to dictate political agendas through their deep pockets, further alienating average citizens from the legislative process. Yet when asked by our skeptical Josh Horowitz if lobbyists were good or bad, Curtis Decker, the executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, put it perfectly. His answer? They’re “necessary.”
This video is part of We the Voters, a social impact campaign incorporating high-profile celebrities, real political players, and dynamic story lines into a series of groundbreaking short films and apps. We the Voters will demystify how the government and elections work, inspiring millions of young Americans to seize the power of their votes in the 2016 elections. Interconnecting 21 viral films and a variety of ancillary digital extensions across multiple platforms, We the Voters presents democracy and elections in a new, accessible format. As entertaining as it is informative, We the Voters promotes a clear call to action, encouraging young voters to make informed choices. It will be the ultimate resource for understanding what is at stake in this election — and in those to come.