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How Arizona’s immigration law was written

NPR gets to the bottom of how Arizona’s controversial immigration law was created. It was written by a group of private companies, many of whom stood to profit from getting the law passed. Then, the companies turned around and gave donations to the politicians who helped them get it passed.

And — this is the scary part — none of this is illegal. For some reason, we don’t consider things like that to be bribery or corruption.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Russell Pearce is or was part of a White Supremacy group according to Southern Poverty Law Center.
    Now as I understand it, the thugs greased the palms of the legilators to lock up all the illegal immigrants so that the illegal immigrants will have free houseing, food and medical care paid for by the great citizens of Arizona. And the Arizona people have been brainwashed to want this?

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    The lobbying issue is one obvious problem, but this also illustrates why certain services should never be privatized. When your business (i.e., profit) is driven by imprisoning people, you have the incentive to do whatever it takes to keep them there. See for another egregious example. When profit is a factor in criminal justice, entrepreneurs will find new ways (i.e., new “crimes”) for which to jail people. In the end, everyone but the corporation loses.

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Same thing happens in private nursing homes. People pay for their care. Much of the money they pay in goes to investors instead of their care.
    Currently for my nursing home which I hope I won’t want for awhile, I pay $150,000 down (price of my home) and $2714 a month which includes a lot of services and a mea. Private nursing homes are a lot more than that. So, by the way, are state run homes. I’ve said this before, but I want to stress it again: Plan ahead. I’ve escrowed $1000 to have my name on their list when and if the time comes.

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  4. jonah wrote:

    Hope this sways the hispanic vote and moves them away from the change candidates (AKA tea party candidates)

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    The influence of various lobbies on the legislative process is little known to most of us in this country. It’s nothing new and has been at work on all sides of many legislative issues. In the early 80s, working as a volunteer for the National Audubon Society, I worked with various members of Congress to draft and eventually pass the bill which created the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. In my federal career, I was witness to the creation of a number of pieces of legislation and many were strongly influenced by those who were to benefit from them.

    This being said, I fear that the manipulation of the legislative process by outside interests has exploded in the past 10 years or so. Way too much of the health bill came out of the lobbyist representing the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. They backed the bill (at least they didn’t try and kill it) because they were, for the most part, protected.

    And it’s not only the legislative process, but the operating of the government itself. Take the gravy train that several American companies fed on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I thought Ed Stein had a wonderful cartoon a couple of weeks ago. You can view it at:

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink
  6. ZJD wrote:

    “This being said, I fear that the manipulation of the legislative process by outside interests has exploded in the past 10 years or so.”

    I fear so as well, but it seems to have been going on for longer than that. From part 5 in a series on income inequality, a.k.a. The Great Divergence, by Slate (

    Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, political scientists at Yale and Berkeley, respectively, take a slightly different tack. Like Bartels and Krugman, they believe that government action (and inaction) at the federal level played a leading role in creating the Great Divergence. But the culprit, they say, is not so much partisan politics (i.e., Republicans) as institutional changes in the way Washington does business (i.e., lobbyists). “Of the billions of dollars now spent every year on politics,” Hacker and Pierson point out in their new book, Winner-Take-All Politics, “only a fairly small fraction is directly connected to electoral contests. The bulk of it goes to lobbying….” Corporations now spend more than $3 billion annually on lobbying, according to official records cited by Hacker and Pierson (which, they note, understate true expenditures). That’s nearly twice what corporations spent a decade ago.

    According to Hacker and Pierson, industry began to mobilize in the early 1970s in response to liberalism’s political ascendancy (which didn’t end when Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969):

    The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, 2,500 did. The number of corporate [political action committees] increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980. […] The Chamber [of Commerce] doubled in membership between 1974 and 1980. Its budget tripled. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) doubled its membership between 1970 and 1979.

    The resultant power shift, they argue, affects Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink
  7. Jeff wrote:

    It’s ironic in a sense that those who would have been deported in a matter of days will now be detained in the country and be paid for by tax dollars. I wonder if the taxpayers will notice? And what will people be more upset about: undocumented workers taking jobs from Americans, or having to dish out their own money to keep these same people in an unproductive jail cell?

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 6:29 am | Permalink
  8. Don wrote:

    From ZJD: “The resultant power shift, they argue, affects Democrats and Republicans alike.”

    In my own clumsy way, this is what I was trying to say. The pendulum right now appears to be on the conservative side of the ledger as far as where the big money is trying to drive the government. In times past it has been on the other side of the ledger. Big Money will virtually always go where Big Money can make more Big Money, health care, as an example. Big Money (in this case insurance and pharma) went with the Democrats because it was the best way to protect themselves.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink