Don't Be Fooled by the Abramoff Scandal - Corruption Is Here To Stay
If you need evidence of just how deceptive the Abramoff scandal will ultimately reveal itself to be, then consider what Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said at a news conference at the Justice Department: â€œGovernment officials and government action are not for sale." This was an outrageous lie. Just because the excessive chutzpah and greed of Jack-the-Corrupter Abramoff and his gang got them nabbed does not negate the political reality that government officials and government action have been, still are, and in all likelihood will remain for sale. The historical fact is that no previous federal government scandal has ever put a stop to the legal and illegal sale of government. To put an end to the institutionally sanctioned bipartisan corruption of Congress and pay-to-play politics consider how Congress will respond to these questions:
â€¢ Will Senators and Representatives immediately take advantage of this monumental embarrassment and truly and effectively stop the sale of our government?
â€¢ Will they rally behind ending all private campaign financing by backing Clean Money/Clean Elections legislation?
â€¢ Will they require that any form of draft legislation not originated by a congressional member or staffer require full documentation, including what entities and interests the language serves?
â€¢ Will they end acceptance by members and staffers of ALL gifts, meals and other freebies from ANY private sector source?
â€¢ Will they restrict access of lobbyists and other types of representatives of special interests to members and staffers â€" perhaps to just one hour a day when Congress is in session and by using a lottery that gives winners a 15-minute session?
â€¢ Will they pledge to match access given to lobbyists and other representatives of special interests to individuals that are legitimate constituents?
â€¢ Will they greatly redesign their financial reporting requirements to provide more detailed and comprehensive information?
â€¢ Will they reform their ethics committees and make them effective prosecutors of misbehavior?
â€¢ Will they cause the billion-dollar lobbying, government influence, government relations, government affairs, Washington representation industry in Washington, D.C. to collapse, as evidenced by an exodus from all those corporate, trade association, and law offices on K-Street and throughout the metro-D.C. area?
â€¢ Will they beef-up reporting requirements for lobbyists so that the public can easily see exactly what lobbyists are doing and for whom?
â€¢ Will they put an end to line-tem pork handouts and other forms of corporate welfare that provide the motivation for so much influence peddling?
â€¢ Will they prohibit all forms of lobbying by former federal government employees for at least two years?
If you think that Congress will take these actions, think again. We should also ask one additional, important question: Will the mainstream news media shift from coverage of the titillating criminal acts of corruption and greed to in-depth examination of the specific actions that could and should be taken by Congress? Think again.
[Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Sprawl Kills â€" How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health and Money and the forthcoming Delusional Democracy â€" Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. He can be reached through www.sprawlkills.com.]
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