PS 102 - May 4 Executive Agencies to Congress
We were finishing up on some of the words and concepts that were in "Mr. Rooney Goes To Washington" for those of you who remained and saw it. Some of you disappeared; some of you didn't show. And weren't here any ways and that's why I decided that one or two questions will be strictly on Mr. Rooney goes to Washington so that the people who weren't here get screwed and those who were get rewarded. That will teach you.
We talk about contracting? Yes. And then sunset laws? Did we get to sunset laws? Just contracting and double dipping? Because we only had ten minutes after the end? Yeah.
Well basically our topic is the executive agencies which are often known as the fourth branch of government. Now that leads us to two questions. Number one -- I did not define the term fourth branch of government, did I? Nor have I defined -- of state earlier. One of which I should have defined, one which I still can define. The one I should have defined previously and did not, but it's on your word list is the fourth estate. The reason I need to do that now is so that you don't confuse a fourth estate with the fourth branch of government. So you've got to be careful because that's a tendency people have to mix up those kinds of things easily enough.
The fourth estate refers to the media. The news media. But I just don't give it to you, that's the way you're going to memorize it, but I'd like to try and explain why we refer to it as the fourth estate. Because the concept becomes important even though I should have gone over it earlier. Previous to the French revolution and for those of you that are numerically directed, the French revolution took place in 1789. Began -- previous to 1789 France itself was divided into three estates. They were basically classes. The first estate was the clergy, second estate was the nobility, and then the third estate, as somrone said, was everyone else. In reality it was the lawyers, the professionals, the businessmen. Well, why estates? Because each estate had its own rules and regulations and own courts. So they had separate laws pertaining to the individual estates. Was there a fourth estate? No. Why do we call the press the fourth estate? Because the press often sees itself as being separate from the rest of society. They tend to think of themselves as having certain rights and privileges that nobody else should have because the press sees itself as -- and in a sense it is, the watch dog of democracy, that it protects democracy by revealing the abuses to democracy which it does do. But it demands rights that in most cases the courts don't give.
For instance, the right to withhold sources. As you know they do have that right, but if it's conflicting with a fair trial the press is ordered to reveal its sources even if it won't. And in a very famous case 20 years ago at Stanford, maybe it's almost 25 years ago now, the press, the police came into Stanford University's press with a search warrant but didn't warn them ahead of time because they were afraid some of the documents they had on drug deals that they were doing a story on would be lost. The Supreme Court upheld the right of the police not to reveal to the press that they're coming in with a search warrant if there's reason to believe that the evidence would be destroyed or hidden. And that's the Stanford case which still upsets the press because it feels that you should announce coming in. Which of course police would do individually but will not do and they are not going to knock on a door, this is the police, they can actually go into somebody's house without even warning if they believe that the drugs would be destroyed, flushed down the toilet, or whatever, without having to let people know ahead of time. They don't have to call and say we're coming over. But the press likes to think they have this privilege. It doesn't.
So fourth estate, which is different than again from the fourth branch of government. The fourth branch of government refers to the executive agencies. Every agency's generally known by its letters, the IRA, the FDA, the FCC. We refer to them as the bureaucracy, but also a term refers to them as the fourth branch of government, why? Because they often act independently of the presidency. They act independently of the legislature and they act independently of the judicial system. Their job is to interpret and carry out the law. When they're established they're given tremendous leeway that allows them to determine what the law says after it's gone through Congress, after signed by the president, and after it's been interpreted by the courts. On top of their ability to interpret the law, and the FDA is a good example of that, which drugs can be sold across the counter by prescription.
The FDA decides certain drugs -- such as Sudafed used to be only a prescription drug. There have been a lot of drugs that have been taken off the prescription list but they sell in different dosages. You can't buy it in 60 milligram tablets. You need a prescription for that. So you take two. Same thing with Motrin. You can only buy 200 milligram pills across the counter, but if you get a prescription you can get 800 milligrams. So you take four. That's all by FDA internally. So it does that and there's the old story about bureaucrats. Anyway we obey, but we do not comply.
What does that mean? How can they obey, but not comply? Because they say they're carrying out the law and then they stone wall saying they delay. So in reality they don't comply. If they don't like something they just don't do it. They're going to -- okay, we'll give the order to do it and then paperwork gets lost and bureaucrats are notorious for interpreting the law the way they want and carrying it out when they think it's important. Okay? So they obey the law, but not necessarily really comply by carrying it out. And they stay there because they have what we call tenure. They have civil service status which means it's impossible to get rid of somebody working in the bureaucracy.
Now we've been talking with some of possibilities of problems and some of the changes that go on in the bureaucracy and some of words that we use. One of problems we have with the bureaucracy is that once an agency is considered, Mr. Rooney said, "It never goes out of existence." It changes its letters. It changes its name, but it stays on. Even when they were created for an emergency and it has passed, it continues. Good example of that was the department of energy. Created because of the gas crises in the 1973 and '77 period. And at that point they decided we better regulate it. Why? The question is do we really need a department of energy in California? It's not doing anything to keep our gas prices low or to investigate it. Ronald Reagan ran on the platform, said that he was going to get rid of the department of energy and education. Ronald Reagan came and went and we still have the department of energy and the department of education.
So it's once they're established they're almost impossible. So for that reason Mr. Rooney built in a termination date. That is what we call sunset laws. A sunset law is a law that has a built in termination date. Meaning a date when it's finalized when it ends. If it's necessary you recreate it. Usually, almost all sunset laws set the determination date for five years, but they don't have to. So a sunset law is a law that sunsets. It ends at a certain point of time, usually five years. We've had a few laws not necessarily agencies that have been established with five year deadlines. If you recall I
mentioned the voter rights act 1965. The voter rights bill had a five year termination. They sent in people to southern states, 12 southern states, to make sure blacks could vote, but it ended after five years. It was reestablished. I think it's gone through five times that they've reestablished and voted it in. They decide to keep it on a five year basis to see when it will be necessary.
Many people feel that a lot of laws should have built-in termination dates because they sit on the books with no purpose after awhile. Often the danger of having laws on the books is that sometimes they can be used arbitrarily. Especially by police officers who want to pick on somebody. They find these strange laws and people get busted for them.
By the way, the line item vetoes that was given to president Clinton had a five year termination. It was supposed to go out of effect in 2003 and then they could decide whether they were going to reissue it. However the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. So at this juncture a line item veto would have to be passed as a constitutional amendment to make it effective again, but it was term limited so we do have a few lawyers. But in agencies the point was that they should sunset them. That they should have a five years limitation and then if they're needed they're recreated.
A number of other words on your list, one of them is the Peter principle. It is the concept that people are promoted to their level of inefficiency in government in bureaucracies. That if you do a good job at one level and they move you up because they're making the same salary. So you need to have some sort of status. The status is getting a promotion. Finally they move you up to a place where you can't do the job anymore. But because you're civil service, they can't get rid of you. So what happens in government who were basically inefficient. They're incompetent, better said. So how do they do their job? They hire people who can do the job for them or they get contracts or consultants. Translation, they get more computers, secretaries, and it costs the government probably ten times as much because these people can't do the job efficiently. And they expand their empires so that they don't sit around doing nothing, that they should have been doing. The Peter principle. People are promoted to their line of inefficiently is incompetency. It happens in business too, but in business if they're not making a profit and it's costing the company money, generally you get rid of the person until they've got something on you. It happened in my dad's business. They had a secretary who had been with them many years and she kept getting promoted up to the place where she couldn't really do the job. They couldn't get rid of her because she knew too much about the inner workings of the business. So they kept her in that position, paid her basically to shut her up. And that does happen in the business world. Quite often in fact.
Also on the list is a Parkinson's law. Again, it's probably more prevalent in bureaucracies but it exits in the business world. It is work expands to fill time. Meaning, that if you've got a good job, you're not doing anything. You want to keep the job, so you find things to do. It's amazing some of the crap I get in the mail around here. Some administrator has to find work to do, you know? We don't need this stuff. Most of it winds up in the -- file anyway but somebody feels they're important enough to do it; why? Because they want to keep their job and have people working under them so that they have an empire building which is true of bureaucracy. The more people you have working under you-- the more important you are.
It was interesting, a number of years ago, it wasn't that long ago, maybe five years because the person in human resources has only been here since about '91. Well '92, maybe. Well maybe 6-7 years ago. In human resources we had this gentlemen who was working there for a few months and he found the job very boring because he didn't have any work to do and he was not one of these people who felt he could work and make it look important. So he got a new job and he wrote a letter to the head of human resources and put a copy to the board of trustees saying -- and I saw a copy of it because it got circulated -- that his job was meaningless and was not necessary, that it should be done away with. Now that's unique. He was telling the board that his job was not needed and they could save the $40,000 a year whatever by not filling his post when he left. Drove the woman who heads human resources nuts. Because it made it look like she was not doing her job by having a job where people weren't needed and so she went to the board and conned them into believing that this guy was a disgruntled employee, which he wasn't. He just didn't feel the job was worthwhile and not only did she convince them that he was a disgruntled employee and the job was necessary, she even convinced them to add another half-time position. So to a job that was not necessary that should have been eliminated they wound up with a job and a half of people that were not necessary. And that happens when you don't have efficient people doing the job. And so again Parkinson's law; work expands to fill time.
Tied very closely at times to executive agencies are the interest groups because the job of executive agencies is regulatory. They are to regulate various parts of the industry and business and of course even unions. Their job is regulation, then the interest groups certainly want to be careful of what's happening. Interest groups have political action committees that spend money for campaigns, and interest groups also hire lobbyists. Their job is to oversee what legislation -- to make sure that it is favorable to the interest groups or to make sure that no legislation is passed that is not favorable.
Lobbyists are individuals whose job it is to oversee legislation for the interest groups and, in a sense, to give support to those legislatures either in Washington or the state capital, that is supportive of interest groups interests in various ways. That means sometimes running parties sometimes giving gifts sometimes giving them free transportation. Sometimes taking them out on the golf course taking them out to big places for lunch and talking to them over lunch. To try and convince them that they should vote one way or another. Because they were important to the interest groups, the average salary for a lobbyist is $400,000 a year. It is obviously a very lucrative profession. Lobbyists for big companies like General Motors make between a million and two million a year in just salary. Their expense accounts are usually double their income. Since 1946 lobbyists had to register who they're working for and they do have to give their statement as to who they have given gifts to and how much money they've spent. In recent years the Senate and the House have actually placed limitations on how much money or how large a gift a member of the house or Senate can get. One of the bits that caused the speaker of the house to resign was one of the things that lobbyists continued to do is that they give you a speaking engagement. Okay? And that meant that they hire you for $25,000 to $50,000 an hour to talk to the company where all these people come to this convention. Well both the Senate and the house is now limited in the amount of money you can take to about $20,000 to $30,000 a year in speaking engagements. Which means that they can no longer make -- by the way the highest paid speaker of all times was Robert Dole. He was averaging about $200,000 a week in speaking engagements. Before they put the limits on them when he was in the Senate. That's a lot of extra money. It's more than their salaries, obviously. With the limitations on this, this guy who was the speaker of the house, Jim Bright, for a while since he was not allowed to make that kind of money. What they did is he brought his book with him. Newt Gingrich pulled this bit too, in part, and they would sell the book at the convention and it would seem that the company was buying lots of editions of the book.
With Gingrich -- usually book companies give you 10% maybe 15% at the most of the price that they sell the book to the company for. Gingrich was getting 50% of the cost of the sales. Nice little kick back. He got fined, ethical based, on that one if you recall?
Lobbyists not only work in Sacramento. Certainly some major organizations, not businesses necessarily, have lobbyists who work in Hollywood. Their job is to convince movie studios and TV studios to introduced material pertaining to their interest in their film or TV shows. I was listening to a speaker one time who was the vice president for Norman Lear productions, they did "All In The Family", "Archie Bunker". A number of shows, "Maude". She was telling us how you know anti tobacco people, cancer prevention people, their lobbyists convince them to do a show where someone got lung cancer from smoking. Then Edith Bunker got raped in one show because of women against violence. That they get more people to watch this and see it and understand that rape is not a sexual crime based on the show than they would if they did a full service kind of, what do you call it, PBS special or any kind of special on it, because more people watch the sit coms and it -- but again, lobbyists abound and independent films. " Mr. Rooney goes to Washington", you saw all of those companies and the last frame there dealing with the companies different sounds you saw Jesus Saves, saves but as many of the churches.
In fact speaking about lobbyists that was probably Bill Gates' biggest mistake with Microsoft. He had only one lobbyist in Washington and they were not giving money to legislature for campaigns. He refused to. As you know, Microsoft is being sued by the federal government for being a monopoly and the court says it is still going on. Once the court case had gone on for about a year Gates got smart and he hired 11 lobbyists and has been giving money now for political campaigns for legislatures. In the sense that if you want to survive the federal government it means you got
to get the legislatures on your side and that means what we often call the cozy triangle. It is sort of like a government menage a trois. I think most of you heard the word -- some of you don't know the meaning of it. It's generally when three people are having sex together. Usually two of one sex and one of the other. Sometimes they bring in a third sex, I don't know. Why were we getting thumbs up over there? Okay Alex are you red? No? Couldn't have been too bad. The three people in bed together in government are interest groups, who give money to legislatures, so interest groups and Congress are in bed together along with the executive agencies. Because the heads of the agencies need the approval of the Congress. And so the legislatures make sure that people who were often favorable to the interest groups get appointed to the executive agencies. So the three groups in bed together again in government are interest groups, Congress, and the executive agencies. The only difference being that instead of screwing each other in a menage a trois, they're screwing us. Cozy triangle.
I'm trying to think if there's anything else on the word list dealing with executive agencies. More interest groups. Or lobbyists. They have had to register but many, many people in government are not just lobbyists for Americans. Many peopleare lobbyists for foreign companies and foreign nations. Foreign countries often hire people. For example, the Japanese government was paying as a lobbyist a guy name Ron Brown who later became Secretary of Commerce in the Carter administration. He was killed in an airplane crash in Peru a few years ago. But I think the biggest scandal was when Jimmy Carter was president. He had a brother named Billy Carter and he became famous because he decided to produce a beer because he liked beer drinking and it became Billy Beer and I think probably if anybody owns a bottle of it it's a collectors item.
Speaking about collectors items did you read about those Star Wars figures and how much people are buying up, waiting in line all night long, waiting to get into Toys R Us. People spending $850 on those action figures. So who's going to wait in line to watch Star Wars. None of you are? That nuts, good. It will be there for a while. Uually now a days they're showing those things on 6 or 7 screens anyway, but you know the sound effects I can almost get with the DVD. -- which with the computer generated graphics it should have those parts are exciting. I'm sure the plot is just worse than anything.
Meanwhile, back to our lobbyists, our interest groups and our executive agencies. Billy Beer. Billy Carter received a loan from the Libyan government so he could open his business of $100,000. That's Khadaffi had loaned him the money? Why? Because he was the president's brother which means that Khadaffi knew that this guy had access to the brother. The U.S. Government demanded
that Billy Carter register as a lobbyist for a foreign company. He had first refused but the courts ruled that he had to. Even though he said it was just a friendly loan. Well there's no such thing, especially coming from a country that is not very friendly to the United States.
Speaking about countries not friendly, it's very fascinating to me that Jessie Jackson was able to pull off what he did, and that is to get the release with no conditions, openly, of the three American GIs. We haven't even released the two Serbians we hold which is amazing.
(by student) It's not too surprising. It makes Clinton look bad?
(by teacher) What do you mean because he's a Democrat? But still surprising if I were -- I wouldn't release him.
(by student) But it's not really war.
(by teacher) well you know he's just trying to save face.
He's trying to keep his power. It makes sense!
(by teacher) you think so? I don't know. Maybe it does -- propaganda like crazy because I think partially what you're saying has a little sense of validity, is that Clinton is not even getting support from Congress. So in making Clinton look bad it may be a wise element if they're understanding
American politics. They may be reading it wrong but foreign countries often do.
What I'm saying is last week Congress voted 213 to 213 which meant that the resolution to support Clinton's action with NATO was defeated. Now it's a close vote but even with his own democrats they did not support him in a NATO action. The Congress also voted last week overwhelmingly, and I may have mentioned in this class, to oppose any issuing of ground troops. So basically if Clinton decides to use ground troops they gets approval of the house and that's in a sense where you may be right in the sense of embarrassments where when the president of Cypress went there Congress hadn't taken a stand yet so it may be something to say for it. Clinton is backing down in part, he appears to be willing to move towards a Russian solution so there may be something. I said to my son when it first started ,we'll declare victory and pull the hell out after awhile even though it's not a victory.
Well, this is why one of legislatures and very interesting liven to-- this guy in Congress argued that we must declare war because if we don't ever declare war we have no backbone as a country. He argued for example is that remember we lost in Vietnam and certainly not go all the way in Desert Storm that we weren't in war and if we had a war we would have gone all the way because of the concept of winning is a war. I don't know how valid that is to tell the truth, but interesting argument.
Again, backbone a strange word. I'm not sure it's exactly backbone. It's attitude sometimes in those things. Politicians do see things differently. And every time I hear that, because it bothered me, because that was what brought Hitler to power in Germany was the arguement that the German politicians had no backbones and they sold out WWI and the exploded during the 1920s and early 30s because of whether it's true or not is another story.
Well okay, I think we need to move onto Congress. I think I covered the material and the interfaces are due today. So, if you want to take them out.
Q Explain -- can you -- I don't understand the question, why all politics can be local. Is that what it says?
A Isn't that sort of the first part of that question?
Q I don't understand -- what's going on in Yugoslavia is local to us. Part two I think.
A Well remember Congress isn't involved in Yugoslavia, so we wouldn't be related to Congress being local. I'm not sure what you're asking.
Q It says explain why all politics can be thought of as local. So I don't understand the question itself?
Q I think you were referring to local congressional politics.
A Well more for congressional, but the statement that all politics were local would bring in the national politics, so the translation is how is all politics local means basically that we are concerned for ourself on a local level more than we are on a world or national level. So the question then comes to the point, how is Yugoslavia local ? The answer is it's probably not, but that is why there aren't many of us who don't give a damn about what's going on there. If I were to ask this class how many of you really care what's going on in Yugoslavia, deeply? Be honest. Nobody.
Absolutely amazing it's less than I thought. Because it's not impacting us as such. Okay? Of course obviously um, I have relatives in -- my wife's parents live in Oklahoma. Now that becomes local to us, you know for most of us.
Okay what the hell is a twister? A half mile to a mile large? That's impossible to think of in my mind. But so that becomes local in a sense that for me Clinton sending aid and declaring it a disaster zone means something, but to you the fact that he declared it a disaster zone is also pretty much irrelevant. But if a earthquake hits like it did in '89 and at that particular point, "hey folks this is a disaster zone!" and we're concerned. We have a human sense of people dying. We have a human sense of the destruction but it doesn't become vital to our existence and so that's what we mean by politics being local. Our human concern is there and that is also knowing, that is why our administration has attempted to constantly show Milosovich is the devil. The Darth Vader the -- whatever it is. If we can show them as threatening to us here in California by making it look like we've got somebody whose going to lead us into a new world war if we don't stop it, then it becomes local to us here. And obviously that's the kind of thing that the Clinton administration has attempted to do and not been extremely successful in making it appear that Yugoslavia is a threat to me living here in California. That's why it's so difficult to become involved in warfare which is done for human reasons or for humane reasons. Did that help at all, Karen?
But yeah I mean my chapter is based on Congress and therefore what I am mainly emphasizing is Congress being local. And you know there are a lot of ways I can describe it and I don't think I particularly use this example in my book. I forget which examples I use, but a number of years ago there was a scandal in Washington. This was a good 25 years ago. When ten congressmen were accused of having sexual relations with their pages. Pages are usually young people from high school who were running errands. All of the pages were 16, but it was not illegal because in Washington 16 was the age of consent. Somebody in my class was saying that in Hawaii 14 is the age of consent. Those Polynesians must mature a lot faster. But in any case, 16 was the age of consent. Well nine was made with females against male politicians. The tenth was with a male against a male. It happened to be a guy from Connecticut who was a congressmen by the name of representative Stud. I like the name Stud. Who, by the way, just decided in the last election not to run again. Now, his district is a fairly conservative area when it comes to that kind of morality from that perspective and he was highly condemned in the local press for, not just because he was not an announced gay, he never brought forth his homosexuality and if you would think that at that juncture this guy would be voted out of office because of the action, and let's call it sexual harassment, and it is when you're involved with somebody who's working for you. Within limitations on that kind of a nature, depends, because what's sexual harassment? In any case he was reelected. And has been continuously reelected. Why? Because he was chairman of the fisheries and hatchery committee. What does that mean? It means that that committee was vital to the people in that area. And if they voted him out of office and brought somebody else in, bringing somebody else in, that person could not become chairman because to be chair of the committee it's seniority. The person who's been there longest. They couldn't even be sure that a new representative could serve on the hatchery and fisheries committee and because he had been bringing home a lot of what we call pork, fat, getting a lot stuff for the district, which meant jobs, it meant money, they decided that morality was second in their minds or at least their interpretation of reality was secondary in their minds to what was interesting and important to their pocket book. And that is a very interesting point to be made.
We have had numerous cases where politicians in the middle of a term have switched parties from the republican to the Democrat. The next time they also win. Always by the same vote. As a different party. Now you would think people were voting party but the point I'm making is they're not. What they're voting for is what that person is doing for the district. When they get knocked down it was because they're not doing the job, the people don't know them in the sense that they're not bringing home the bacon. They're not introducing enough pork barrel legislation. It is legislation specifically defined for a legislature's district. Okay? So yes. Congress is very local in that sense. But so is all politics.
Any other questions on any of the interface questions?
How would you go about getting your bill passed? Would you want it to pass your legislation?
Q Have a petition, collection from individuals, and/or maybe joining a protest march to get that bill passed.
Well protested march is possible. You may be pushing it, yeah, the petition is probably -- first getting a bunch of people supporting you, yeah. Please remember that you're not a legislature, you're you, and you want a bill passed. So you need to get support so that the legislature believes that there is a reason for getting that particular legislation put through. Anybody else? Well after you get a whole bunch of groups interested in the same thing as you, then you go ahead and contact your local legislature. Not only your local legislator who may introduce it, we found that you need to contact a lot of other legislators in different districts to try and convince them so that that will get out of committee. While your legislator may do it to make you happy, it sits there because not enough support. So often, and we had it happen here on a bill that we wanted to go through Washington. What it was about was irrelevant, perhaps, but we call to find out and the woman who was the secretary said very bluntly it's not going anywhere unless you convince a bunch of
legislators too and told us to start contacting other legislative offices which was interesting. That's a lot of work if you want to push something seriously through unless the legislator him or herself feels that they're going to get something that's going to benefit them out of it. But please remember the point I keep making is that because that incumbent, the person in office is the incumbent. Because that incumbent wants to be re elected that incumbent knows, he or she, that he has to get things done and make a name for himself and most do. That is why in the house of reps, for the last 40 years the average rate of re-election, those people running for re-election, not everybody runs for re-election. Every two years you run for re-election, the average rate of re-election is 95%. For the incumbent. The lowest recently was in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was running for president with the republican revolution. In 1980 of those running for re-election only 90% got re-elected. Now obviously part of the reason that you are getting reelected is because they're getting re-elected.
What the hell does that mean? It means that interest groups are willing to give the money to the incumbent rather than to a challenger. Why give money to a challenger when you knew the odds are strongly against them of getting reelected? So if you want something out of government the person to go through is the person in government. Okay?
The only time, and basically almost the only time money is given to a challenger is if the person in government speaks out against that particular. For example Pete Stark who is a firm support for and -- and very much opposes the rip offs by medical what they consider medical rates and companies and HMO. Pete Stark is constantly being challenged by medical companies, the money is going against him. It hasn't hurt him, because he keeps getting reelected by 66% of the vote, any case because of other things he does. Because he gets money from other interest groups. And if you're not sure because it's an equal race, because two new people are running for the president, at that point they give it to both candidates. Just in case. But in the vast majority of cases the legislator in office, the incumbent, is going to get the money. So they got more to spend first of all, second of all, they've got the name recognition. People know the name of the pen in office. Most of the time you don't and never even heard of the person who's the challenger and third, they have their picture out there the visual, and fourth, they've done things for people in the district who were willing to work for them even if they're not of that party.
Many years ago, a guy that used to train in our gym, he was a member, got an appointment to west point by Don Edwards. He came from a very strong republican family, but in the next election he actually went and walked precincts for Don Edwards, a Democrat, because he felt obligated - the power of obligation - he wanted to reward him for getting him an appointment to West Point. Okay? Part and parcel of the reality of why the incumbent has that kind of power. So every time we hear somebody say we are going to get rid of that incumbent forget it, just doesn't happen.
I made my point with that story about A B-C-D-E , the bumper sticker war. I'm assuming you read my chapter, anybody, with congressman Don Edwards versus Americas best congressmen Don Edwards that's the reality of the situation. It's not what you can do for America that gets somebody elected to office, it's what you do for me. It's what you do for your area. And legislators know that they make sure that their office staff is cognizant of the fact that they better be nice to their constituents, being anybody that they represent and going out of their way to try and at least
give the image that they're doing something for the constituent when they go there. And a good legislator does tend to get things done and introduces legislation to support constituents needs. It doesn't always get through but at least they try to push it.
I know one that frustrated Don Edwards, was a frustrating one, this older couple had adopted their daughter's son because -- and the couple was getting social security and even though they had adopted this child officially legally, they couldn't get social security added on for it because he wasn't natural. And Edwards did introduce legislation to try and get it through and legislation was defeated. I still don't know why. This was about 20 years ago. Last year they finally passed legislation that allows somebody who adopts a child to collect social security on that child as their own child. Now why wouldn't -- it should be certainly the same difference between natural born versus adopted, but it wasn't under those, whatever the laws distinctions were. But he did, I remember specifically because it was one of my students who was giving that was telling me about their case.
Again, noting how local legislation is, I use the example in my book, of this individual I knew in Pensacola Florida who was also a professor of political science who had married a woman in Japan right at the end of WWII. And at that point, it had become against the law for a short period of time to bring war brides into the country. A war bride was a term used for GIs who married women in Japan, in Germany, even in the Philippines, because they felt that many of the women were exploiting the GIs because of their loneliness and their needs and then they were leaving them or just trying to get in the country and it was a reality. My family, my second cousin, my mothers cousin married a woman in Germany. Right after that at the end of WWII, and she came to this country because this law hadn't been passed yet, and as soon as she got here she disappeared and stayed in the country. I remember many years later when he want to remarry he had to go move to Florida to get a divorce for desertion, because in New York -- in Florida it was six months, so it happened.
But he wanted to bring his wife into the country from Japan and he therefore went, he was living in Oregon. He went to his legislator from Oregon who introduced into Congress, into the house of representatives, a bill whose only purpose it was to bring his wife into this country. That bill for him and his wife went to the house and through the Senate and moved on, and the president signed it. He showed me the bill. The president had signed this bill and he got a copy of it. Only for him. It's amazing how many bills are personal bills. I suspect that his bribery had taken place before.
Remember this was a political science professor. So bribery is a different form and that is he's doing it because he's paying back this guy for having worked for him and that's also very much the case. Legislators will definitely go out of their way for people who have worked for them. It's part of the rewards that they tend to give if you will and it's understandable. I worked for Don Edwards and he got to know me, who was our legislator and it's amazing -- I mean granted not just the calendar for the new year or the Christmas card but he sent me books from Congress and congressional books. In 1976 was the 200th anniversary of the declaration of independence. I got the whole bound set of books that were printed by Congress from him. Based on that. Because you know I had worked for him and he -- and so you know they take care of the people they know who were going to work or contribute financially to their campaign. So I probably would have a better chance of getting legislation introduced than the normal person because he would know me as someone who worked for him. But it doesn't mean that some people won't do it just for the sake of it. Because think that's an important issue. That happens all the time.
I remember we had a situation here in Fremont many years ago; mace was illegal. Teargas was illegal in California. Any usage, ownership, of it at all. And this woman was attacked down on somewhere near the Sizzler. I guess down in Centerville. But she pulled out an illegal can of mace and protected herself. She was busted by the police. Our local assemblyman specifically got on the band wagon and introduced legislation, which now is in existence, where if you take a course on the use of mace you can carry it with you. That was specific legislation that we're familiar with now because of a case here in Fremont. And an assembly person who didn't know the person, but felt it was stupid that she was arrested for protecting herself. We don't have any course that you need to take to carry pepper spray, right?
You can just buy that. Well, in any way, the point is well made that that kind of legislation is the major power of a lot of legislation. I don't know if I used this as an example in the book about Ohlone college where they want to have the election on even years and we introduced the legislation for Ohlone college and when it went through that state assembly and Senate it became a law that allowed any community college district to do it. So sometimes you put it in for a specific group and it expands into something that covers that whole category of groups. In other words, categorical. Well, once again the issue is doing something for me. And that is why we have two terms that are on the word list. Pork barrel legislation and log rolling. Pork barrel refers to, I think I defined it earlier, any legislation that is introduced for -- specifically to bring home the fat, the bacon. It's beneficial to your district. Obviously a 19th century kind of a term. Log rolling, also a term, refers to legislators agreeing to vote for each others bills. I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine. I don't like the fact that you're asking money for a dam and you don't like the fact that I'm asking for a post office. So let's just vote for each others bill because then I'll get my post office and you'll get your dam. So we make a -- we are working together. I guess log rolling comes from the term that people who rolled the logs down the stream had to work together to make sure the logs got to the lumber mill as they turned them. Way before my time. Log rolling.
I'd like to now at this juncture talk about the requirements for a legislature and then how a bill becomes a law. So, we have two houses of Congress. The house of reps and the Senate. Now you got to be careful. Because sometimes you make the mistake of referring to Congress as the house of reps. It includes both the house and the Senate. And if you make that mistake on an exam you could lose a point or so. Why then do we make the mistake, because for some strange reason we refer to members of house of reps as congressmen. And senators we don't call Congressmen. So when we call members of house of reps we think of house of reps as Congress. I think that -- they are representatives and both members of the house and Senate are Congress.
Don Edwards used to put down MC after his name. Member of Congress. That's done more often in England where members of parliment -- they always put down MP after their names. What are the requirements to be a member of house of reps? According to the Constitution? You have to be a minimum of 25 years of age and what other one? You have to live in the state for -- you have to be a resident for seven years. You don't have to be born a citizen. You can be a naturalized citizen.
The representative from the Palo Alto area has a very heavy accent. He was born in Hungary previous to World War II. He couldn't serve as president, but he can serve as a member of the house or Senate. What are the requirements for a member of United States Senate? You have to be thirty years old. And it's nine years as a resident. How long do you serve as the member of house? Two years. House is two years. However, obviously as we pointed out, most people get re elected and there are no term limits. So it becomes a full time job. How long in the U.S. Senate? Six years. Senators serve for six; members of the house serve for two. Ted Kennedy got elected at the age of thirty. The youngest possible age and he's still in the U.S. Senate and I believe he is pushing 70 right now. So 40 years full time job. The oldest member of the Senate of course is Strom Thurman. Didn't we mention him before in class? 95 years old talking about running again for re election. Well we know it's not even a question that he'll be elected because he's brought so much
to his district in South Carolina. Will he survive another six years? Who knows? George Burns made it to the hundreds that he wanted to. He couldn't run his hundredth birthday at the Paladium as he wanted to.
Every two years every member of house is reelected ,as we indicated, or is up for re election. Members of Senate stagger their term, so there's an overlap. Only one-third of the Senate is up for re election. So it's 33, 33, 34. Since there are 100 members of Senate. By the way, how many members of house again? 435. 435 who were all up for re election every two years. Because all 435 are up for re election every two years, we number the Congress based on the House of Representative elections. The first Congress made met in 1789 who was the first Congress. This is the 106th Congress. So every two years there is a new number given to the Congress.
We've talked about the requirements in the Constitution, but there are some unwritten requirements, at least not as strong as the president. What are some of the things that are unwritten? Well first of all, age. Very few have been elected to the house at 25. Some have. Most are in their 30s. In the Senate very few are elected at the age of 30. I just mentioned Ted Kennedy was. However, most are elected in their 40s to the Senate. And we pointed out earlier that most presidents are elected in their 50s.
What other factors do we see in the election like the presidency? Most senators have been male, most members of the house have been male in recent years, we've seen a few more females elected. Up until a number of years ago we had had one or two senators who were female. In the last Senate in the last Congress, we had 19 women serving in the Senate out of 100. With a little less than 10%. It's now eight. The woman senator from Illinois was defeated. In the House of Reps, we have 43 and I've got the exact number in the book. Women are again just under 10%. Yet
women constitute 51% of the population. The vast number are attorneys. Far more than the average percent in population in 1980, 63 out of senators were attorneys. In the last Congress the number of attorneys was something like 56. I forget the exact but still the majority. In the house of reps in 1980 it was 46%. In the last Congress it was 41%. Why is it that attorneys are so active in politics? A lot of legislation. Legislation being able to read it. It's often written by attorneys therefore they're active in creating legislation. Also perhaps because they have schedules that they can set up to
work publicly and the more their name gets known the more business it brings to their company. A lot of attorneys tend to enter into the political arena even locally. Many times they enter politics so they can be known to get an appointment as a judge. This is many years who run for the Ohlone college of attorneys. We at one time had five out of seven board members were attorneys. But just recently one of our board members who was an attorney became a municipal judge, now superior court judge. So it is not too uncommon for many attorneys to get into their name recognition
basically because they're active in a political party.
Now this guy was a Democrat most of his life but when the republicans took over in California he switched to get appointed despite the fact that the governor at the time, Dukemejian, questioned him for having been a Democrat. But he gave the appointment to him, his name is Dick Keller. So interesting on that level. Most have been white. There are something like 37 blacks in the house, there are no blacks, to my knowledge, in the Senate. Very few Hispanics, about 19 in the house. Few Asians. The only group that's ever represented in numbers, but not greatly, but certainly has
more upon the population, are Jews. In the house and Senate. In fact California is unique that both senators are women and Jewish. Why is there a greater percentage of Jews in politics, anybody? Think of a reason?
I think because so many Jews were killed so maybe they feel like they want to give back and do service and become a senator. Maybe; maybe?
It's a nice thought. I'm not sure that's the reason. I like the answer. You're not off base in the sense, not so much they were killed then, we were talking a period of time, but historically of the way Jews have been able to preserve their survival is that they have been active in political organizations be it in Holland or by actively engaging in politics going back to Queen Esthers times. It was part of survival. Also, being part of that legal profession, many Jewish parents like the children to enter the profession of law and since we have such a great percentage of lawyers in politics, both senators from California both women were originally attorneys. So the combination of the law and the ethics and the survival are factors why the Jews, that make up maybe less than 1% of the American population probably make up about 5% of the members of the house and Senate. Okay. We'll see you on Thursday.