[quote=talus]one of the bigger issues is who is going to go after the frat like Senate and Lobbyists.[quote]

I can't speak about the Senate, but as for lobbyists...

As one representative told me, "lobbyist" should not be a pejorative term. Sometimes laws contain provisions that affect businesses in ways that the lawmakers might not be aware because they lack the relevant expertise in those fields. I see nothing wrong with an industry representative going up to a legislator and saying "You know, you may not be aware, but this law is going to do x, y, and z, and that's going to be really bad for business. Maybe you could revise it this way and still accomplish your goals without such an adverse affect on us." That's a win-win.

The problem is when they start getting favors. And their leverage for favors has been providing gifts and money. The situation has improved somewhat with the ethics reform in this Congress, though there are still loopholes. But there are still campaign donations to be dealt with.

So if we want to free legislators from lobbyists who use money instead of arguments to advance their causes, we need to replace their money with our money through robust public campaign financing. I don't believe in banning speech, so I'm against prohibiting business from taking out ads for or against candidates, but we can have a system where candidates at least are not dependent on business funding. As one (conservative) state legislator elected under Arizona's "clean elections" law put it, he likes the state's public campaign finance system because when a lobbyist walks into his office, he can tell him to go to hell.

On this issue, I'd again say Obama has the stronger hand. Yes, he's raising money privately while McCain has accepted public funding. But as I wrote before, I think the presidential public funding system is simply inadequate to the task. Also, Obama and the DNC are refusing lobbyist and PAC money (though it's probably not all that much in the scheme of things this cycle). Most importantly, Obama is a cosponsor of legislation that would institute an Maine/Arizona type "clean elections" law for Congress; McCain has refused to endorse the system, saying that it needs more time to see if it works (it's been in place in AZ since 2000).

I've talked to a number of people serving in Congress about this issue, and they've all said they support some kind of public financing system (which makes one wonder why there's so little discussion by them on this issue). Though the present system gives them an advantage, lots of them say they don't like spending a third of their time raising money. But it's going to take a push from us to give them the political will to change. Write your representatives. This reform would be relatively cheap, and we'd get some if not all of the money back if it results in fewer taxpayer giveaways.

For more information, see Public Campaign.