Who doesn't hate Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who ripped off clients and bought Congress?
Well, we don't. Jack Abramoff is just the one who got caught. One catch in a sea of sharks. Meanwhile the same ole buy your Congress representative techniques are alive and well in Washington D.C. That's why this CBS 60 minutes segment is a must see. Jack spills the beans on how to buy a Congressional representative.
CBS also has the Abramoff interview transcipt, for those video disabled.
One of the things Abramoff describes is how legislation is crafted to put in corporate lobbyist's wish lists, agendas without anyone realizing it.
The below section is from S.2611, otherwise known as Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which was a wish list of multinational corporations with a mix of special interests agenda items. Here is some text from the bill:
NUMERICAL LIMITATIONS.—Section 214(g)(1) (83 U.S.C. 1184(g)(1)) is amended—
(1) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting ‘‘; and’’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:‘‘(C) under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(c)
may not exceed 200,000.’’.
EXCEPTION TO NONDISCRIMINATION REQUIREMENTS.—Section 202(a)(1)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1152(a)(1)(A))is amended by striking ‘‘201(b)(2)(A)(i)’’ and inserting ‘‘201(b)’’
Literally, the bill text refers to other laws, which in turn, like a rats maze, reference additional laws and clauses. Like hunting for cheese, one transverses the references, finds the period, inserts the space and then analyzes. After hours upon hours putting together the actual changes to existing law like a jigsaw puzzle, only then, it dawns on you, the Senate just allowed corporations to displace any U.S. worker with a foreign guest worker through another backdoor loophole buried in the bill. Yes this legislative bait -n- switch is done daily, often by one semi-colon and one existing law sub-clause reference switch.
In other words, Abramoff ain't lying. When you see large bills in Congress with legislative text like the above, you can almost bet some lobbyist wrote the actual bill. It's guaranteed these immoral legislative drafters are hiding hordes of loopholes, corporate/special interests' wish lists and the lobbyists' client agendas into actual law.
There is a way Abramoff can redeem himself and that is by once and for all exposing just how corrupt our government and politics and especially the legislative process really is. He ain't alone. He just went to jail alone.
To that effect, Jack wrote a book and has some suggestions to clean up D.C., which of course will never be passed. The foxes, after all, are guarding the hen house.
He proposes that anyone who lobbies the government, receives federal contracts or benefits from public funds should be entirely prohibited from making campaign contributions or giving any gifts at all to public officials.
To end the revolving door, "the lure of post-public service lobbying employment needs to be eliminated," he writes. So: "If you chose to serve in Congress or on a congressional staff, you should be barred for life from working for any company, organization, or association which lobbies the federal government. "
He also supports term limits. (As a lobbyist, "I didn't want to have to build relationships with new members constantly," he writes.) He furthur proposes that senators no longer be elected directly -- but rather by their state houses -- and that no representative be allowed to propose, lobby for or even vote on projects in their own districts.
In case you haven't heard about it, there is a petition for you to sign to get money out of politics.