Monday, May 22, 2006

A Duke Cunningham of Our Own...

It looks like Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat from Lousisiana's 2nd District, was running a Nigerian bank scam of his own.

In a scenario that will sound eerily familiar to those of us still wincing over Tennessee Waltz, he took $100k from an FBI agent posing as a businessman trying to purchase some influence for a communications deal in Nigeria. He had also asked that a large cut of the proceeds from the deal be distributed to businesses owned by his children.

A few thoughts on this:

  • This illustrates the difference between Democrats and Republicans. I for one an looking forward to seeing Jefferson go to jail for this. When Duke Cunningham or Tom DeLay do something similar, the right wing talking heads line up to say that arresting them is an attempt to "illegalize conservative politics".
  • Bechtel and Halliburton gave money hand over fist to the Bush/ Cheney presidential campaigns. In exchange, Bush installed a former Bechtel executive as president of Afghanistan, and the two have yet to find a disaster that Halliburton doesn't get to clean up on in some way. How are these two bribery cases different? One is illegal and filthy, and the other is perfectly legal and filthy. One has a staggering body count, and the other doesn't.
  • Could someone tell me how this is radically different from Tom DeLay accepting a $200,000 holiday at the expense of the child slavers of the Marianas Islands, then coming home to block a bill by fellow Republican Ed Murkoski that would have applied US labor laws to a US territory? Thanks to "Hot Tub Tommy", a garment can now be sewn together by an eleven year old making 12 cents a day and it can carry the "Made in the USA" tag.

The media is treating this like it's something abnormal. But isn't it really just a more blatant example of what actually happens in this country every day?

If William Jefferson takes $100k to walk some favorable legislation through the House for a business interest, it's bribery. I don't dispute that.

But if the banking industry "donates" $109,746 (Not counting investment firms) to the campaign of an unnamed hometown Congressman before he votes against the interests of his constituents on the Bankruptcy Reform Act, how is it that different?

Whether you call it business bribing representatives of representatives extorting business by refusing to vote without a donation, it adds up to the same thing. And the only thing that's going to take it all away is changing our system to a publicly financed campaign system.

I know it will never happen--- I told someone just the other night that you couldn't swing a dead cat in Washington DC without hitting five Democrats that oppose publicly financed elections.

But if you look at the motives of the people that oppose it--- Aren't we better off without them anyway

1 comment:

autoegocrat said...

I'm with you. I want my representatives to be boy scouts, or girl scouts, whichever the case may be.

"Taint" isn't a good enough reason to go straight to jail, but in politics, it ought to cost you some prestige.