“Incestuous, undemocratic, and potentially corrupting”


… is what “critics are calling” the arrangement whereby a former top Congressional staffer goes to K Street, makes millions lobbying his former committee, then goes back to the committee and gets an $2 million handshake from his lobbying firm on the way out. (“Lobbyists,” on the other hand, “say it’s just the way things work in the complicated world of Washington.” Yep. Real complicated.) Need we mention that the committee is Appropriations, aka Pork Central? Along the way, this excellent piece by the Post’s Jeffrey Birnbaum notes that this is just one more glimpse into the GOP majority machine:

The Republican Revolution of 1994 ushered in a new congressional majority that professed to be distrustful of government but also worked overtime to maintain its control by directing federal aid into popular programs that would help reelect GOP members. Lawmakers were encouraged to earmark billions of dollars for thousands of home-state projects every year as a way to court their constituents.

And the lobbyists who make sure all that pork goes to the right people then hold Congressional fundraisers, which helps re-elect the incumbents, who turn around and hand out more earmarks, which keeps constituents happy and lobbyists cashy… ad infinitum. Nice work if you can get it.

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.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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