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FITSNews – November 18, 2007 – Local governments, universities and other public entities in South Carolina have spent $3.5 million in taxpayer funds over the past 18 months lobbying the federal government to spend even more of your money, according to McClatchy News’ reporter James Rosen. One of the more balanced and thorough reports we’ve seen on the issue of taxpayer-funded lobbying in recent months, Rosen’s article revisits the age old question of whether or not “We The People” should foot the bill for lobbyists whose sole purpose is getting the government to spend even more of your money.

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson certainly didn’t think so, referring to the practice as “sinful and tyrannical.” U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint doesn’t think we should either, which is one reason he has specifically targeted the budget-busting pork buffet in Washington known as “earmarking,” or sneaking local spending items into the federal budget at the last minute, often anonymously and invariably at a lobbyist’s request.

We’ll let you judge the data on this issue for yourselves, but it certainly seems clear to us that the dramatic escalation of taxpayer-funded lobbying helped fuel the recent Republican spending explosion in Washington that grew the federal government by 61% (or over a trillion dollars) from 1998-2006.

According to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, that spending orgy cost Republicans control of Congress in the last election cycle.

In contrast to Sen. DeMint, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham apparently doesn’t have a problem with taxpayer-funded lobbyists, telling Rosen “it’s a business decision,” and adding that “they’re welcome in my office.”