Synopsis

THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY? is the first behind-the-scenes, comprehensive, non-partisan examination of the system of lobbying in Washington, DC.

The cost of election campaigns has spiraled out of control, to the extent that, on average, our representatives spend more than 25% of their time fund-raising.   Even our Presidents regularly interrupt the nation’s work in order to spend time fund-raising!

Raising funds to get elected – that's the key interface between lobbyists and Members of Congress.

The number of registered lobbyists has more than doubled since 2000; their fees have also increased by 100%; and in 2006-7 they spent a staggering $13.5 million per day.  Over the past six years, they have spent more than $13 billion. Would it be naive to conclude that the interests whose money they channel into the political process, expect nothing in return for it?

Veteran documentary film-maker, British-born Francis Megahy, makes a journey of discovery as he tries to answer some questions which puzzle him: who provides the money? What effect does it have? How is it connected to the financing of political campaigns?  And most crucial, is it in the public interest?

Both Barack Obama and John McCain made the issue of lobbyists a central part of the 2008 Presidential Elections. But can any President really change this constitutionally-protected activity? Indeed, can any of us affect this process?

THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY? explores the issue through interviews with real Washington beltway insiders, key participants in the process – who often speak with surprising candor.

It is disturbing that in a democracy, such a powerful, effective and un-elected force, which is able to influence profound legislative changes affecting the lives of all Americans, can be so little known and so little understood by voters.

THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY? hopes that this documentary will go some way towards enlightening our fellow-citizens, by helping them to discover – as we discovered – just what goes on in Washington.

We hope that it will provoke people into thinking afresh about lobbying, and whether or not it should be subject to any form of control by the American people.

THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY? will make audiences of all political stripes pause and reconsider their views on lobbying.