Secret Lobbies

In his book, The New Freedom, Woodrow Wilson complains of the secretive framing of tax bills that favor specific business interests. He refers to the organization of business in their lobbying efforts:

“Thus the relation between business and government becomes, not a matter of the exposure of all the sensitive parts of the government to all the active parts of the people, but the special impression upon them of a particular organized force in the business world.

“Furthermore, every expedient and device of secrecy is brought into use to keep the public unaware of the arguments of the high protectionists, and ignorant of the facts which refute them; and uninformed of the intentions of the framers of the proposed legislation. It is notorious, even, that many members of the Finance Committee of the Senate did not know the significance of the tariff schedules which were reported in the present tariff bill to the Senate, and that members of the Senate who asked Mr. Aldrich direct questions were refused the information they sought; sometimes, I dare say, because he could not give it, and sometimes, I venture to say, because disclosure of the information would have embarrassed the passage of the measure.

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 7/The Tariff.” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 139-140. Print.

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