Kenneth J. Kelley, legislative representative of the Massachusetts Federation of Labor, charged last night that lawyers who serve as representatives in the state legislature are obtaining higher settlements in accident cases by granting their votes to insurance company lobbyists.
Kelley spoke at a Democratic Club forum, held at Winthrop House, on "The Ethics of Lobbying." Other speakers were Foster Furcolo, a leading candidate for the Democratie gubernatorial nomination, and Samuel P. Huntington, assistant professor of Government.
Stating that "I have observed that an accident case worth $250 to some smalltown lawyer can be settled for much more with some legislator-lawyer," Kelley went on to blast those whom he termed "insurancecrats." "Insurance companies represent the most effective lobby in Massachusetts. Some of our friends leave us when we deal with insurance legislation," Kelley added.
Furcolo recalled his experience in the House of Representatives and said that lobbying as a whole is in the public interest. "Lobbying can be very helpful if some method can be devised whereby the person lobbied always gets both sides of the picture." he said. Furcolo called for the establishment of "congressional councils" made up of constituent groups to advise Congressmen on pending legislation.
Huntington assailed the bad name that public opinion has given lobbying. Lobbying, he said, "is an effort to achieve representation by groups not otherwise represented in the normal system."