June 5, 2014

In pointing out that the “law” is the “main culprit” in our “broken government,” Philip K. Howard neglected to mention the effect of omnipresent corporate law firms on all three branches of government [“What broke Washington,” op-ed, May 25].

As they press their clients’ interests, these firms specialize in complicated waivers, dilatory obstructions and loopholes in the drafting of both legislation and regulations. They arrange for targeted campaign contributions. They lobby on Capitol Hill and inside regulatory agencies, often focusing on government officials who came from these corporate firms.

Surely Mr. Howard, as a partner with Covington & Burling, a large law firm that has represented drug, food, chemical, tobacco and financial firms, knows how complexity is its stock in trade. He cited the ballooning to more than 950 pages of the Volcker Rule regulating proprietary trading. Strong as he is, I doubt that Mr. Howard could lift all the memos filled with demands that corporate law firms have submitted to various government agencies just on this proposed regulation.

Ralph Nader, Washington