Date: December 1, 1930
Location: Northampton, MA
Summary: Coolidge criticizes the efforts of lobbyists to gain undue influence over Congress.
One of the hardest problems the congress has to meet is the constant pressure of outside influences. The old lobby that was so frequently charged with vicious activity practically has disappeared. But the organized minorities of special interests with agents and publicity bureaus for creating an artificial appearance of public opinion and showering Senators and Representatives with letters and telegrams has grown to huge proportions. It is a species of supergovemment undertaking to exercise sovereignty without any duly constituted authority or public responsibility. In consequence the Congress is put under duress. Almost all these organizations see an expenditure of the taxpayer’s money.
Every interest has a right to organize and be heard. But the right to Congressional action depends on the relation of the request to the welfare of all the people. If the Congress could be let alone, if it could be free to form its own judgments on what it knows are the realities instead of being forced to surrender to the artificial, much time and money would be saved and much better legislation would result. The Congressmen are the legal representatives of the people. No other agency can claim exclusive right to speak in the name of the people.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of John Sullivan III who prepared this document for digital publication.