A good (bad) example

Here is a good example of how corrupt many of our politicians have become. This serves too as an indicator of how out-of-touch they are. By that I mean that most of them would shrug this off.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton sits on one of the transportation and infrastructure committees in the House. She chairs one of its sub-committees.

Recently she was caught on tape pressuring a lobbyist to contribute to her. By pressuring, I mean this. The lobbyist represents outfits that suck at the government teat for infrastructure business. Rep. Norton left a message on the lobbyist’s voice mail, asking for the dough.

In the message Ms Norton goes to good length to remind the lobbyist that she has a lot of clout. She cites several big building projects that come under her cloak.

She goes on to say that she is surprised the lobbyist has not already given money to her. She points out that her work on the committee and sub-committee is essentially in the lobbyist’s sector. This is too frank to qualify as a hint.

This is, quite simply, extortion. Do you suppose she is alone in such activities?  Of course not. And there is the problem. Most of our politicians do it. The worse problem is that they barely notice that what they are doing is corrupt.

“It is just part of the routine in politics,” they tell us. “We have no choice, we have to raise money all the time,” they insist. To the contrary. They do have choices. One would be to reform the damned system they wallow in.

The corruption reaches the White House. Remember when the Clinton guys were selling sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom?  Contribute a few thousand and eat bacon and eggs in the White House dining room.

There are dozens of dinners and luncheons put on by both parties where your food will cost you many thousands of dollars. If you want access to the top henchmen later, you had better pony up the dinner money now.

“Maybe we sell some access, but my vote is not for sale.” Rubbish. We have a lot of representatives and a certain president whose votes and policies have clearly been bought by major unions today. Just as we have had such bought by big businesses.

All of this brings to mind a comment a long-time House member made in my presence. “That guy?  Why should I help him out?  He’s never given me any money.” He was talking about money for his campaign war chest. He was absolutely serious. And he was – to my knowledge – one of the least corrupt members of the House.

One of the bones our founders picked with the English was that Parliament was corrupt. Members sold their votes to the highest bidders. Many colonists felt Parliament abused or ignored the colony because members did the bidding of the big businesses of that era. Businesses that wanted monopolies to protect their interests in the new world.

Corruption of our version of parliament today is scarcely any different than the corruption of that era. Many a Tea Partier will tell you so.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns, for Tom’s radio shows and new TV show (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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