01.08.10

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Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft lobbyist

Summary: New (or newly-disclosed) loopholes permit lobbyists to operate secretly and Gates intervention in (mis)education shows negative effects

NO TECHNOLOGY company lobbies like Microsoft does, so the system got bent as we last showed this morning. To make matters worse, lobbyists are going underground using new loopholes:

This is outrageous.

National Journal’s Under the Influence blog has a piece up on a new lobbying shop whose selling point appears to be that they can provide some services lobbying firms would provide, but without the reporting requirements.

Citing what its founders call a “volatile climate for lobbyists,” K Street Research opened shop today in hopes of helping clients with policy and research needs while lowering their lobbying disclosure numbers.

First, “policy and research” are incredibly vague descriptions.

Second, the lobbying disclosure act was designed to require disclosure of this sort of research. See 2 USC 1607 (7):

(7) Lobbying activities
The term “lobbying activities” means lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.

[...]

They should also succeed in drawing attention to the need to update the Lobbying Disclosure Act, since this business is apparently based on the benefits of skirting it.

The Microsoft lobby must absolutely love these loopholes. The real scale of lobbying/lobbyists is nowhere near what’s publicly reported. Some of the most effective lobbying is done under another ‘umbrellas’ like “campaign funding”, “charity”, “donations”, and “favours”.

Bill Gates, the de facto education minister and one of the world’s biggest lobbyists [1, 2, 3, 4] is still thriving in secrecy as he attempts to control more of the education agenda using his new firm. Here is some new information about a $10 million investment that gives Gates the influence he requires:

A representative of the Gates Foundation is in town today to meet with the new board members. Why is this significant? Well, the district and the teachers have been working together to submit a grant to the Gates Foundation to fund a new teacher evaluation system.

[...]

So…we’re having meetings with the program officer of the Gates Foundation today. I requested joining a meeting in which two other board members were in attendance, but the Superintendent’s staff told me that they wanted to avoid having to post a meeting notice and record the briefing (three board members present triggers “Sunshine” laws because it constitutes an official meeting). I asked why this had to be behind closed doors. I stated that the public has a right to know not only the bad, but also the good.

For background, also see:

Later on, it should not be surprising that children around the world are grown and raised into a Microsoft Office ecosystem. The schools act as mono-cultural (against choice) indoctrination facilities for these proprietary products. Only then it becomes even a job requirement (“Minimum Intermediate aptitude using MS Project Server 2007 and MS SharePoint 2007 team collaboration tools“). As Jonathan Eisen puts it (with Glyn Moody’s remark), “Xprize seeks Genomics Prize Lead, but reqs include MS Office proficiency…”

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

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