Here's how The Post describes a fresh spin on corporate influence on the political system:
No longer content to rely on traditional lobbyists, companies are investing in other messengers such as nonprofit groups or academicians who can provide expert testimony, shape media coverage and change public opinion in ways that ultimately affect decisions in the nation’s capital.
The new approach gives deep-pocketed interests more tools to influence policy, but without the transparency that comes from traditional lobbyist registration rules that require companies to disclose how they seek to influence policymaking. Nonprofit organizations, now playing an increasing role in lobbying and electoral politics, are not required to publicly reveal their donors.
The trend toward so-called “soft lobbying” is clear in new data. Major corporations are hiring fewer registered lobbyists in the capital overall, with reported spending declining in 2013 to a five-year low, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But the seeming decline is more than offset by increased unreported spending on other methods to shape laws and regulations.
As an example, The Post uses a fight between the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association.
Sugar and corn have been in intense competition since the 1980s, when corn syrup became one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors as it was selected as a less expensive alternative to sugar for the U.S. production of Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks, baked goods, soups, and other manufactured foods.
Well, of course. The mindset seems to be: Somebody has got to keep pumping the sweet stuff into a nation suffering an obesity crisis, so, it might as well be us.