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Paying to Lobby Against Yourself, Redux

The July 2003 issue of our newsletter, The ACTA Watchdog (Adobe required) discussed the outrageous campaign of the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), one of the County Board’s primary lobbying organizations in Richmond, to “educate voters about the need to raise taxes for K-12 education, state transportation, and public safety.” As we noted, the Arlington County Board spends over $34,000 annually for its VACo membership.

We were reminded of that Watchdog article informing ACTA members of such wasteful spending of Arlington taxpayers’ money when we saw a similar article in the Heritage Foundation’s Fall 2005 Insider magazine (Adobe required), which discussed lobbying efforts by the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League. The article points out that “(a)llowing the government the authority to allocate taxpayer funds for lobbying transforms government from its appropriate role as a neutral policymaker into an advocate of certain policies and ideologies.” The author is one of three taxpayers who filed suit alleging that Williamson County “illegally expended funds to join an association that lobbies.” We hope they prevail!