Thanks to the federal and state politicians who don’t possess the will to reform our campaign finance laws, the endless amounts of money that special interests are willing to spend to gain special advantages and a U.S. Supreme Court who thinks corporations are people, millions of anonymous dollars are pouring into political advertising and influence peddling without any accountability or transparency. Let’s look at the similarities between illegal bribery and legal influence peddling:
• Both buy favors.
• Both are anonymous or faceless.
• Both tilt the playing field of fairness.
• Both disenfranchise those who can’t afford to purchase favorable treatment.
• Both compromise the politicians.
• And both subvert the system.
Bribery is illegal and frowned on by society. Lobbying is legal and thereby tacitly condoned by our society.
Who made campaign financing and lobbying legal? The beneficiaries are the ones who made the laws. The issue of morality versus legality I shall leave to you the reader.
This query was prompted by two recent media pieces. One was a June online piece by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor: see http://robertreich.org/post/24472398883?632ecf88
The other was a segment on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on July 8th where Lesley Stahl interviewed Jack Abramoff, one of the most notorious U.S. lobbyists of our time, who served more than three years in prison for his crimes – one of only a few lobbyists who ever served time. You can watch the interview here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57319068-10391709/jack-abramoff-inside-capitol-corruption/?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea.1
Please read the former and watch the latter. Then see if you have the same reaction that Stahl had during the interview: "I think the public's going to be furious watching this," she said after expressing her anger at what he’d done. I hope people do get angry. I hope you do. We need to get mad as hell and stop taking this anymore!!