One of the biggest ethical problems in Washington concerns the revolving door that currently exists in our nation’s capital. The American people need to find out about this door and how it affects taxpayers. When they do – what they find, they won’t like. Persons can go from working for the government to working for well-connected lobbying firms – and make a killing in the process. An example is Letitia White. Within two years, this former congressional receptionist’s lobbying fees had grown to over $3.5 million. The secret for Ms. White’s success is not too hard to figure out. Her last job on Capitol Hill was as a top aide to Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. This is the committee that the disgraced lobbyist and confessed criminal Jack Abramoff used to call the “favor factory.” As a lobbyist, Ms. White became very good over night at getting her clients “earmarks” — government funds directed by lawmakers to specific projects or specific contractors. I wonder what special expertise this former aide suddenly acquired that made her such a successful lobbyist.
This is Congress, better known lately for corruption than legislating. A broken process has allowed lobbyists to channel campaign funds from their clients to lawmakers. In return, lawmakers earmark money to projects that benefit those clients. The losers are the taxpaying public, which gets stuck with the costs of these special favors. Well-connected industries and companies will hire persons who work for a senator or member of Congress and then put them to work with large salaries as lobbyists. Many Appropriations Committee staffers who become lobbyists, lobby their former committee and find immediate financial rewards. You have to wonder about their loyalties before entering the revolving door.
At the beginning of this year, GOP congressional leaders pledged to curb influence-peddling, including the use of earmarks. Their sudden interest and newly-found zeal was fueled by the Abramoff scandal, the bribery case involving Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA), and a few other scandals. Perhaps the latest chapter of the Abramoff saga was when Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), agreed to plead guilty to federal corruption charges. I understand there will be more to come from the Abramoff investigation in the near future.
Source: USA Today
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.