Feeding the Mouth That Bites You

Is there anything wrong with voting against the stimulus bill but then working hard to steer stimulus dollars into your district? Jonathan Bernstein captures my view pretty well:

There’s nothing hypocritical or wrong in any way with a Member of Congress saying that government should not spend money, but trying to get as much of it for his or her district after its been approved.

On the other hand, it is massively hypocritical for a Member of Congress to say that a bill would not create a single job while, at the same time, lobbying for projects from that bill to be placed in his or her district on the basis of all the jobs it will bring.

Agreed. Once the bill has been passed and the money is going to be spent whether you like it or not, there’s nothing wrong with getting your fair share of the pie. But going to ribbon cuttings, bragging about the jobs you’re providing to your constituents, and loudly taking credit in local media for all the dollars you’re bringing into your district? That’s a whole different level of hypocrisy. Complaining about it probably won’t actually do much good, but there’s no question that it’s a legitimate target for mockery.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.