Al Swift 2¢ Worth

In Defense of Doing Nothing

Sometimes doing nothing is a very good option.

Congress is slowly grinding through the process of adopting new rules about how Members and lobbyist can interface. It’s taking a long time, in part, because …
• Some Members want to really do something
• Some want to appear to do something
• Some don’t want to do anything at all.

For Group Number One, my partner Bob Hynes and I offered some very straight forward, simple and easily enforceable suggestions for sensible, transparent and accountable new rules. They were detailed in the last Swift 2¢ Worth. We were also invited to explain them before the Senate Rules Committee. Bob also testified on them before the House Rules Committee.

As to the Group Number Two: the best advice to them is to stop dithering and get into one of the other groups.

That brings us to Group Three – whose position of doing nothing may be more defensible than one might first think.

Remember that all of the recent discovery, arrests, prosecutions and convictions for corruption were accomplished under existing law. It is not wholly unreasonable to ask, if these guys were caught under current law, why do we need new laws.

The answer is simple: When Members go home, they need an answer the voters question: “All this scandal. What have you done about it?”

So there is a premium on having proposed some new rule that – at least arguably – will make things better. “I’ve introduced a bill that will …..”

There is another answer however that someone might want to try sometime.

Voter: Congressman, what have you done to stop the lobbying crooks and the
crooks in Congress?

Congressman: We discovered them, investigated them, arrested them, tried them and
sent them to jail.

No a bad answer, actually.

Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011
By: csh
Posted in: 2006
Colling Swift & Hynes P.O. Box 275 Clifton, VA 20124 P. (202) 347-8000 F. (202) 315-2598