by Austin Pruitt
Hot off the press: WRAL’s Mark Binker authors an in-depth piece on the role lobbyists play in the legislative process at the General Assembly. Comparing the lobbyist community to a “third house”, his article addresses the misunderstanding many people have when it comes to lobbyists. Asserting that they are integral to the process, Binker’s thesis is fair and insightful. So what’s the problem? As readers of the John Locke Foundation’s many publications already know, this topic has previously been discussed.
On July 24th, Carolina Journal Online published an article titled “Battling Lobbyists’ Bad Rap“. In this piece I used my experience having worked alongside a lobbyist to arrive to the same conclusion that Binker did, essentially sharing the same thesis. One major difference in Binker’s article is his access to commentary from legislators due to his being in the building more than anyone would ever wish to be. Another is his use of rhetorical data, including the spending amounts by each lobbying principal and the percentages of lobbying activity by policy area.
I am not arguing for a plagiarism case. The two articles definitely share a similar theme but Binker was able to expound in places I couldn’t. The local news has always been a great place to get insight regarding activity at the General Assembly; however, the moral of the story is this: when political commentary surfaces on the local news circuit, chances are, we had had it first.