Sunday, 1.8.06: Scandal: Buying Congress
Reactions to the growing scandal of lobbyists buying Congress:
1. Thank you, Jack Abrahmoff, for revealing to the kind people of the heartland what hypocrites they voted into Congress. I hope the preachers are all getting on their pulpits this morning to issue retractions about who God wanted elected. And maybe they could throw in a reading from Matthew about what Jesus said to the Pharisees.*
Time and again it proves out that those who weep the biggest tears of righteousness have the biggest sins to hide.
those who weep the biggest tears of righteousness have the biggest sins to hide
Or is there that class of people who only believe in crimes of the heart? Who believe that crimes of the wallet are "just business"?
2. These people have way too much money. Is this what rich people have do with their tax cuts? Pay lobbyists to bribe Congress to get their way? Will poor little rich boys not be satisfied till they have all the toys behind their walled villas?
Raise their damn taxes!
3. Okay, I'll get real. Bribes are easily disguised as campaign contributions. No matter what kind of campaign finance reform is enacted, the money will leak around the barriers and get to the candidate of choice. Also, we're not going to get rid of lobbyists. Congress likes them. At best, they are informative about a particular perspective. And wouldn't we all like a guy in Washington pleading our case to Congress.
So here's my serious proposal. Tighten up and enforce the current regulations about direct gifts to government officials. Then make campaign contributions "blind." All contributions would be "laundered" through some banking system where it would be illegal for any elected official to know how much he got from any given source. The system could only be accessed by law enforcement with a subpoena. Special interests could then help elect the candidate of their choice but the transaction would be "arms length." Officials know damn well who wants them in office but they don't have to be bribed with a big check waved in their faces. Nor should they be able to extort payment for their votes by waiting for checks of certain amounts.
It's a small step that doesn't expect ethics, just a clear money handling procedure with a good audit trail.
*Whited Supulchre: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing..." Matthew 23: 25-28
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