Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When is Enough, Enough?

The latest Republican scam. Josh Marshall tells us about Rep. John Doolittle, another California Republican caught between a Duke and an Abramoff...
...[his wife] Julie Doolittle had a political consultancy and she worked on commission raising money for Doolittle's campaign and political action committee.

Now, let's take out the ethico-criminal magnifying glass and look closely at what that means. As the article makes clear, Julie had no fundraising experience prior to starting her consultancy. She also didn't seem to do any actual fundraising. What this meant was that every time someone gave Doolittle money, Julie and John personally got a 15% taste of the cash.

So, for instance, the Wilkes crew gave Doolittle's campaigns $118,000. And according to the Union-Tribune's investigation, the Doolittle's got at least $14,400 of that personally.

[...] Julie Doolittle's Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, launched in March 2001, right after Doolittle got his seat on the Appropriations Committee. In other words, right after he got in a position to hand out federal contracts in a big way. SDFS has no phone number, no website and no employees except for Julie Doolittle. Prior to opening the firm she seems to have had no experience doing fundraising.

But what of her other clients, you ask?

The Union-Tribune found three. What were they?

Well, one was Greenberg-Traurig, Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm. The second was Signatures, Jack Abramoff's restaurant. The third was the Korea-US Exchange Council, a front group run by erstwhile Abramoff associate Ed Buckham, Tom DeLay's former Chief of Staff and head of Alexander Strategy Group, which closed down recently so the principals can focus on their legal defenses.

So Julie Doolittle's 'fundraising consultancy' drew a cut for the Doolittles for every dollar of campaign money she claimed credit for raising. Her other clients were either Jack Abramoff or front groups related to Jack Abramoff.

This seem fishy to you?

Fishy like goddamned beached whale. Yeah, I know whales are mammals...you get the point.

But here's where I go off the rails. This is not just a Republican problem. I would be shocked if there weren't countless simlar examples throughout Congress, and in both parties. Even if it is overwhlemingly republican, the Democrats are part of the same stinking, crooked system. Guilty by association. This shit has to stop. Now. This fucking system is a complete crock of shit at this point. Lock, stock and fishy fucking barrel.

Somebody needs to step the fuck up and run on this stuff, and it sure as hell ain't gonna be a Republican. Is there a Democrat clean enough to take the lead? Can he/she get the rest of the Party in line? Might it mean taking your wife and kids off some bogus payroll? I don't fucking care. We need publicly-financed elections and we need them yesterday. If the Democrats can't pick up the ball on this stuff and start making it an issue we are all screwed. anybody in the Party who isn't willing to give up their personal stake in this rotten system is no better than a Republican as far as I am concerned, and they can get the fuck out. I don't care if it costs us 2006 and 2008.

There will never be a good time to handicap your own side to do things right, but it has to happen. This is a long-term winning issue. And this is a perfect example. Everybody likes to think their Representative isn't the problem, and that they bring home the bacon for the district/state. But nobody likes to hear that their Representative is skimming, stealing or crooked.

The good news is for this cycle, it's too late to actually change the system, so self-inflicted wounds will be minimized, but we need to start talking the talk, and walking it. come up with an aggressive, even if unrealistic (for now) reform plan, and make Democrats synonymous with REAL reform, not his twelve-step Reid crap, and stick the Republicans with the tarbaby of corruption. And God forbid we actually win, actually implement the reform!

There is a clear distinction between parties just waiting to be drawn.


S.W. Anderson said...

You're absolutely right that this is a bipartisan problem and it has got to stop. You're right, too, that it's going to be up to Democrats to step up and institute meaningful reforms. Republicans never will.

I've been disgusted for several years at what I see as a society-wide rise in greed. It goes hand in hand with a widespread decline in people having and valuing a sense of personal integrity and honor.

It's not just in politics. Look at how many CEOs and high-level corporate executives have been busted for runaway greed — and those are just the ones who've gotten caught. I'm sure there are many more who've gotten away with similar ripoffs.

I trace the beginning of a big trend of ascendant, overweening greed to the coming of Reagan and the vaunting of business uber alles at the beginning of the 1980s.

Not that it was all his fault, but Reagan and his most ardent supporters helped create an environment where notions of anything to win, ends justifying means and runaway greed were bound to flourish.

It almost seemed to be a big rebound effect, after Americans' flirtation with anti-consumerism, anti-capitalism, back-to-nature, communes, etc., during the hippie years of the mid-1960s to mid-1970s.

Whatever's going on, it should be countered, in government, business, in the way kids are raised long before they go into either for their careers.

Mr Furious said...

As I read your comment all i could think of was Gordon Gecko from "Wall Street"...

"Greed. Is. Good."

Mr Furious said...

The biggest frustration is that this is an issue that will resonate, and is one the Democrats can take the lead on. they are so busy trying to position and play catch-up on other issues (ie: national security), and this one is just sitting there.

Not that other issues should be ignored in favor of this, but it should be a major, if not THE major plank of the platform. Nearly everything else touches on this. Money has waaay too big a role in politics right now, and gettng rid of it will start solving many problems.