Friday, June 09, 2006

Must See TV: Jeffrey Birnbaum on C-SPAN discussing 'The End of Legal Bribery'

Washington Post columnist Jeff Birnbaum was featured on this morning's C-SPAN Washington Journal. (Video; Birnbaum's section starts at 0:58:40) Mr. Birnbaum discussed and took calls on his recent article for the Washington Monthly, 'The End of Legal Bribery: How the Abramoff case could change Washington'.

An excerpt from the article provides a depressing backdrop for what passess as government in Washington:

Legalized bribery

Campaign finance laws are built on a legal fiction. To wit: Electoral donations are considered within the law even though they are actually bribes at root. Think of them as "legalized bribery." Through bundled contributions and PAC giving, industries, labor unions, and interest groups of all stripes try to persuade lawmakers to vote their way on the issues they care most about. Donors do not express their desire just that way. They use euphemisms like "buying access" to wink and nod their way toward the same thought. But the truth is the truth. Interests give money to buy votes. Unfortunately for those interests, lawmakers receive funds from so many sources, and also sometimes make their legislative decisions based on factors that have nothing to do with money, that the contributions do not always produce the result they desire. Still, the basic fact remains. The dollars would not be offered unless the donors hoped they would lead to a very specific result...
Related: Must See TV: C-SPAN on Congressional Travel Investigation


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