Sunday, January 20, 2013

As long as you're not a registered lobbyist, you can buy swell inauguration crap


"This pencil set includes two No. 2 pencils, decorated with the 57th Presidential Inauguration logo." ($3)

"My children will be devastated to learn that I will be unable to bring home the much-sought-after $5 presidential dog button. Will the humiliation ever cease?"
-- Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National
Transportation Safety Board, now a registered lobbyist

by Ken

In keeping with the general theme of this presidential inauguration, that it sure as heck isn't like the last one, our pal Al Kamen calls attention, in his Washington Post "In the Loop" column, to certain limitations of purchase of the crap swell stuff you can buy at the online Presidential Inaugural Store, where it turns out that your purchases are treated like, and monitored like, contributions.
You'll find items ranging from caps for $10 to fancy designer clothes for around $125, to a "medallion set" for $7,500.

It’s simple: You just click on the item you want and then "add to cart." When you’re done shopping, you click on "Go to checkout." Don’'t forget to "apply discount code," which is "2013" and gets you a 15 percent discount.

Then you fill out the standard billing form: name, address, credit card info. You also have to say who your employer is and give your occupation. Then there's this: "If this donation is from an entity rather than an individual, please provide the name of that entity here."

Donation? Well, whatever. But then, before you can get to the final purchase, there's this:

"By clicking this button I certify" six things: that you are over 16, that you're a citizen or lawful resident, that if you are a company it's an American one, that the money is not from a political action committee, that no one's giving you money to make the "donation," and that you are not a registered lobbyist.

That's right. While the committee has dropped the ban on corporate contributions that it had during the last inaugural preparations, it will not accept money from certain employees of those corporations.
As reflected in the quote atop this post from former National Transportation Safety Board managing director (and current registered lobbyist) Peter Goelz, the registered-lobbyist community is feeling the pain. "But wait!" says Al. "If you're in town -- as many lobbyists naturally are -- you can go to the inauguration store at 1155 F St. NW and buy stuff there, no questions asked."
But if you buy more than $200 worth of stuff, you have to sign a form (for the Federal Election Commission) and -- uh-oh -- you must "certify" that you are not a "currently registered lobbyist."

So you can “"donate" some cash for swag, just no more than $200. Unclear whether you can shop there every day.
At $7500, this medallion set is apparently beyond the reach of even the most ardent lobbyist.

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At 6:03 PM, Blogger leoeris said...

I sure hope the humiliation of lobbyists never ceases.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Of course we could look at it the other way, L: Lobbyists are spared the humiliation and expense of having to shell out their hard-swiped $$$ for this crap!



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