Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Crack Cocaine of Politics

I haven't commented on the tidal wave of lobbying reform legislation now wending its way through various congressional venues as a result of the Jack Abramoff Scandal because, quite frankly, they're all crap.

Money is the crack cocaine of politics. Money is the crack cocaine of politics. Got that? No amount of legislating is going to cure the addiction, and out of every well-intended law a thousand loopholes will blossom. One salient example noted by Andrew Ferguson in a Bloomberg commentary:
Debating the intricacies of lobbying regulation, would-be reformers should keep in mind the overriding lesson of that well-intentioned act.

As the regulatory noose grew tighter, as disclosure and registration requirements grew more transparent and the range of permissible activity diminished, the amount of lobbying greatly increased anyway. The number of lobbyists, to use one measure, roughly doubled in the 10 years since the act was passed.

(Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.)

* * * *

The Texas Observer reports that although the White House insists President Bush never met Abramoff -- except maybe at large gatherings -- Abramoff charged two of his clients $25,000 for face time with the president in May 2001.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the White House is refusing to divulge details of Abramoffs visits with President Bush's staff because it isn't "going to engage in a fishing expedition."

Sounds pretty fishy to me.

* * * *

Former Clinton political advisor Dick Morris, who knows a thing or two about scandal himself, says in a a column in (on?) The Hill that scandal is bleeding the Republican Party.


. . . [T]his scandal is different. With Republicans so completely in control of the government, this scandal is theirs.

. . . The scandal also seems to be spawning a reaction quite different from the usual cynicism in that it appears to be visited on each district’s local representative. While voters typically deride Congress as a whole, they usually speak highly of their own members. But not this time.

. . . Because this scandal is both partisan and local it will have a searing political impact. Nor should the recipients of Abramoff’s dubious generosity dismiss their acceptance of his donations by saying it doesn’t matter because everybody took his money.

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