How much corruption is there in D.C.?How can corruption be exposed? How about some political corruption examples.
Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.
Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.
Examples of Political Corruption
Billy Tauzin Recent American history is full of examples. For instance, in 2002 Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Republican from Louisiana and then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, drafted the Medicare prescription drug bill, which created Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. In his final Congressional election for Congress that same year, Tauzin received close to $300,000 in campaign contributions from health professionals, drug makers and other health products companies. The bill Tauzin drafted in 2003 followed the industry’s desires. It steered clear of price controls and forbade our government, the largest purchaser of prescription drugs, from negotiating with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries, which is why today we still pay the highest prices in the world for our prescription medicines.
But, that’s not all. The year after Tauzin drafted the Medicare drug benefit act, he left Congress and went through the revolving door between government and K Street, where a great many lobbyists work, and was hired by the drug industry. PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying arm, rewarded Tauzin for writing the drug bill to its liking by hiring him as its president with a salary of approximately $2 million a year.
Tauzin’s payoff would be unbelievable except for the fact that that is the way Washington actually functions. Retiring from Congress and becoming a lobbyist for a much heftier salary is a fairly common practice. According to one study, 42 percent of House members and 50 percent of senators become lobbyists when they leave office. Not only do they make a lot more money when they “retire,” so to speak, but also they automatically have built-in access to members of Congress, having worked with many of them when they themselves were in office. You might say many of our representatives, with the help of corporate America, have made corrupting their public service standard operating procedure.
2008 Recession Corruption. A few years after the Tauzin corruption, the Great Recession of 2008 struck our nation. Millions of innocent people lost their homes and/or jobs when the economy crashed. Though the economic disaster was mostly due to the unscrupulous and fraudulent practices of Wall Street’s big banks, the Obama administration allowed practically all of those bankers to get off scot-free. Could the facts that some of Obama’s biggest donors during his 2008 campaign were Wall Street banks, and that he appointed a number of Goldman Sachs people, like Larry Summers, Gene Sperling and Rahm Emanuel, to important positions in his administration have had something to do with his failure to hold the bankers accountable?
In addition, despite the fact that the TARP legislation (Troubled Asset Relief Program) included instructions to use a portion of the funds to prevent the foreclosure of people’s homes, President Obama not only used little or none of it to assist those distressed homeowners, but he also refused to extract foreclosure relief measures from our nation’s biggest banks in return for the huge bailout they received. Was neither prosecuting the big bankers nor extracting foreclosure relief from them Obama’s way of paying back Wall Street for their helping him win the White House?
Housing Scandal A former Goldman Sachs co-chairman, Rubin used his influential position to gain repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated investment banking from commercial banking since the days of FDR, and had thus protected ordinary Americans’ bank deposits from being wagered by investment bankers in the risky trading of future derivative swaps and other exotic, often fraudulent securities. Rather than protecting the interests of average American investors and homeowners, Secretary Rubin’s efforts supported his Wall Street friends. Repealing Glass-Steagall allowed the Big Banks to gamble with depositors’ money. Consequently, to a great degree, we have Pres. Clinton, Rubin and his bank buddies to thank for the crash of the housing market and the Great Recession of 2008. Even today, many Americans are still struggling to recover while the big bankers are doing better than ever.
Edwin Edwards served four terms as Democratic governor of Louisiana in a time span ranging from 1972 to 1996. The New Orleans Times-Picayune recently described Edwards as such: “He was a swashbuckling figure of engaging charm and dubious ethics whom critics blame for cementing the popular national image of Louisiana as a captivating but corrupt backwater, the province of rogues and scoundrels.” Despite accusations of impropriety beginning early in his career — a former associate claimed he was involved in several corrupt practices, including the sale of Louisiana agency posts; and he was accused of accepting money from a South Korean rice broker while serving in the U.S. House — his political career continued. Then in 1997, FBI agents raided his house and seized records and more than $400,000 in cash. The FBI had monitored over 1,500 hours of telephone conversations, and Edwards was charged for his involvement in extorting payments from businessmen — including San Francisco 49ers owner Edward Debartolo Jr. — in return for riverboat casino licenses.
Clinton Foundation We are told investigations into Clinton dealings are underway. Almost certainly these investigations will unearth some ugly dealings — many think there are multiple cases of corruption by the Clintons. How does one generate 3 Billion dollars in 10 years with no product to sell? Or more accurately, what precisely was the Clinton Foundation/Global Initiative et. al selling? Their two highest profile most often cited humanitarian efforts are Haiti – where they robbed the Haitians of both millions of dollars in disaster relief as well as stole millions more in Haitian gold. The second crowning humanitarian achievement is the distribution of an HIV/Aids vaccine in Africa. The vaccine was faulty and the officials of the Indian company which were responsible went to jail. These folks were in conspiracy with the Clintons. The # 1 achievement of the Clinton Foundationwas the sale of 20% of US uranium to the Russians in a sale that was approved not only by HRC herself as Secretary of State but numerous other Obama administration officials all during an FBI criminal corruption probe which was headed up by none other than FBI Director Mueller. He was appointed to this role by Rod Rosenstein, currently deputy US Attorney General but at the time he was US Attorney overseeing the corruption investigation of FBI/Clinton/Russia/US uranium sale.
The FBI has a special undercover informantwho has documents and recordings of hundreds of US officials and business persons who were bribed with 145 million dollars by the Russians for this transaction. This undercover informant personally delivered envelopes stuffed with cash and has recordings of Russian spies openly discussing the bribery of numerous Obama administration officials. Perhaps not surprisingly the transaction was approved unanimously by all parties.
Tomorrow we will turn the calendar forward and report details of D.C. scandals. We’ll even give you links to fact-check our political corruption.