A PEOPLE'S LOBBY TO WATCH CONGRESS
Twain, Steffens, Mitchell, and Others in a New Plan.
WILL SHOW UP ALL SECRETS
And Keep the Records of Good and Bad Legislators - President Roosevelt's Friend's Behind it All.
If anybody is naughty in Congress hereafter he will have to reckon with a new force. This is the "Peoples' Lobby," which is announced to begin work at Washington at the next session of Congress. Its first duty, according to the announcement in the October number of Success, which is sponsor for the idea, will be to watch all committee and legislative work through a permanent bureau established in Washington, and combat the attorneys for "special interests." Incidentally the bureau will keep records of the public career of each Senator and Representative. There is nothing frantic in the work, the magazine promises, and politics are to be faithfully avoided. The announcement says:
There will not be the slightest feeling of antagonism toward Congress as a body - the people's lobby will merely see, in a methodical manner, that Congress hides no secrets, no secret alliances.
The lobby will be to Congress and to National politics what Dun's and Bradstreet's are to commercial life, its promoters hope, and to give it standing and to free it from suspicion of magazine control a governing committee is being organized. Mark Twain is named as a member of this committee. Half of it is already made up, but it consists mostly of authors whose names have been often heralded in connection with politico-economical articles in magazines. These include Lincoln Steffens, Henry Beech Needham, William Allen White, the Kansas editor, and James B. Reynolds, one of the authors of the Neill-Reynolds meat inspection report. Others are R. M. Allen, Secretary of the Inter-State Pure Food Commission; Francis J. Heney, special Government prosecutor in the Oregon lands fraud cases; John Mitchell, President of the United Mine Workers of America, and Benjamin Ide Wheeler, President of the University of the University of California.
Henry Beech Needham is credited by the magazine with being the author of the scheme. Like most of the members of the Governing Committee, he is a friend of President Roosevelt. As an author he is known as the man who investigated college athletics for a monthly magazine a year ago and found them very bad. He has also written about Washington lobbying.
Winston Churchill, now candidate for Governor of New Hampshire; Samuel Hopkins Adams, and Robert Collier have pledged moral support to the plan. Active politicians are in it, too. In the list these are Brand Whitlock, Mayor of Toledo; ex-Gov. Garvin of Rhode Island, State Senator Everett Colby of New Jersey, Seth Low, ex-Mayor of New York City, and Gov. Charles S. Deneen of Illinois.
"We believe," says the editor of Success, "that we can guarantee to the citizens of this country that there will not be a man on the Governing Committee who would for an instant consider a proposition to sell out the People's Lobby. Neither will there be a single demagogue or a man who could be swayed by the demands of demagogues for sensational and unsettling legislation."
Like all other lobbies, the People's will need money. Already those who have announced their moral support of the idea have contributed checks, and the magazine makes request from its readers for dollar subscriptions. More than a dollar will be welcome.
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