Jack Abramoff on political corruption

Americans love reform. Each election is about reform, change, throwing the bums out. And yet, nothing ever changes. We see new faces, but we face the same problems. Why? Because it’s the system which needs to be changed not the current cast of characters running the system. But systems are hard to change. Each year, the congressional high priests offer a sacrifice to the idols of change. They pass reform bills, or change the rules in Congress. Ostensibly, these alterations are done to fix the system, yet nothing seems fixed. Is corruption in Washington really ended by insisting congressmen eat their food with their fingers standing up, rather than seated with forks and spoons? Yet this is the kind of reform which Congress proposes, passes, and then congratulates itself about.

For years, it has been difficult to pass legislation in the changed partisan congressional atmosphere. So a lobbyist trying to enact his client’s wishes needs to get his amendment onto a bill likely to pass both the House and the Senate, to then be signed by the president. No bill is more likely to pass than a reform bill. While there may be hiccups on the way, most reform bills will make it all the way to the president’s desk, so smart lobbyists always keep an eye out for reform bills.

It’s ironic, if not horrific, that this is the case. The very bills designed to limit corruption and improve our system of government sometimes serve as vehicles for special interests. Like fugitives surreptitiously searching for an escape car in the dead of night, too many lobbyists prospect for reform bills in the hope of attaching their amendments. To my great shame, I was part of that group too.


4 comments so far

  1. Sheldon on

    I just saw this clip of Ron Paul claiming that all govt. subsidized railroads went bankrupt, and only one that wasn’t survived. Would love to hear your comment. Thanks,


  2. Javier Hernandez-Miyares on

    Abramoff has a conscience and that is a good thing; the truth is coming from insiders, which means that the dam is breaking.

  3. mark hansen on

    to Sheldon

    i don’t know if all govt subsidised railways went bankrupt, but the northern pacific railway which was a government subsidised railway did go twice into bankruptcy, but survived each one and continued in business until it marged with the great northern in 1970.
    look up the wikipedia account of the northern pacific railway and i think you will learn a great deal about the shenanigans that the robber barons got up to in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    there was much more to it than Ron Paul said in his clip.

  4. dieta on

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a patent reform bill by a vote of 304-117, the last major hurdle in revamping the U.S. patent system.

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