Congressional corruption is a very complex and shrouded subject.
Special interests are experienced and savvy. Fogcutters will be
presenting many Internet links for those seeking the underlying facts.
The problem is that there is so much information! So much so that
overload and frustration can lead to discouragement. These issues
cross all political boundaries!
First of all, official
corruption and self-serving behavior has probably been with us for
thousands of years ever since civilization became, well, "civilized."
Power begets power. Power begets wealth. Further, the political
"Golden Rule" simply states that "He who has the gold, rules!".
We are limiting this discussion to
four areas of deep concern.
Congressional Insider Trading;
The current hot topic!
finance and how the rules are circumvented;
of lobbyists The shrouded influence in the halls of Congress.
Political pressure to
conform to party dictates extends even to blackmail.
Fogcutters has been researching these
issues for a number of months. Every time we thought there was sufficient
verifiable information to publish a whole set of new issues cropped up and
we needed to delve even further. Obviously, this subject will need
to be frequently updated as political leadership start rushing to cover
their butts. Pompous denials and inside maneuvering can be expected
to maintain Congressional privilege while presenting a public spin show.
Congressional Insider Trading
This is probably one of the most heinous examples of Congressional
arrogance and expectation of entitlement. Actually, insider trading
has been around for hundreds of years. Equity and bond markets were
first established in Europe 500 years ago. In 1790 the United States
created the first open market for bonds and it took only 2 years for the
first case of
insider trading to crash the market! Insider trading has long,
So what does our value system indicate should be done
here? The fallout from the Penn State scandal saw both
Coach Paterno and President Spanner
removed even though neither was accused of any wrong doing. The
feelings persisted that maybe they could have done more....
Given the need to sweep house as being a common process during a scandal,
how hard do we need to address insider trading in Congress?
There remains little doubt that insider trading is, and
has been, widespread within Congress. Legislative attempts to limit
and disclose insider trading (Stock Act) has been submitted every year
since 2004 in
H.R. 1148. (Note: to use this link one must initiate a new search
for "H,R. 1148.) Since 2006, only six congressmen have been willing to co-sponsor
the bill. Now that this arrogance was exposed, 2 corresponding bill have been presented in the U.S.
Senate. Everyone is
talking about "investigations." Also, since exposure, 174
Congressmen have jumped on H.R 1148 as cosponsors!
Unfolding of the "current" trading crisis. Check
out the following video interviews!
Jack Abramoff, CNBC, 11/11/11 - Congress Members in Insider
Trading (Must See!)
Insider Trading, 60 Minutes - Interview with Jack Abramoff, 11/13/11 (Must See!)
Congress Exempt fro Insider Trading Laws - CBS News video
Insider Trading - 05/28/2011
Economic Policy Journal
view - From FactCheck.org, challenges false rumors about Congress
And there is more!
Jack Abramoff on CNN - 11/09/2011
Boehner Deny Profiting
Cafferty on CNN examines how Congress gains wealth while in office.
Peter Schweitzer, author of "Throw Them All Out,"
- discusses the ethics of the House and Senate and the problem of insider
trading in the Congress. He doubts the willingness of the SEC to enforce
the rules, given that they have to answer to Congress.
Read more at the
Washington Examiner (editorial)
Summary: Initially few Congressmen acknowledged
knowing about the problem or the "Stock Act" and they are now running for
cover. There is nothing like the public spotlight to bring
politicians in line! Congressional entitlements will be a hard and
long battle where we must keep these issues on the front burner throughout
the entire coming election cycle and for years thereafter. Even with all
the publicity the Congressional leadership has delayed further
consideration until next year even though there are enough votes to pass
deepest levels of Congressional motivation is campaign financing and
Many observers contend that the first order of business for
elected congressmen is re-election. Within the escalating polarization of
the political scene decisions are being made for re-election, dogma,
personal power, the benefit of financial supporters and, at the bottom of
the list, the benefit of the nation.
Current estimates now put the cost over $1 million for
the house and $4.3 million for the Senate. Some campaigns run as high as $15
million. Once in office a senator needs to raise more than $10,000
every day. Many Congressmen report spending nearly half of their
time raising funds for re-election! (See "Power of Money" on the side
Congressmen are being openly coerced
on the house floor to vote along party dictates or face diminished
re-election funding. With the changes made under the guise of “campaign
finance reform” the various political parties are now controlling the
re-election purse strings. “He/she who has the gold, rules.”
explanation of campaign finance is available from
Wikipedia . However, whatever attempts to control campaign financing
that were in place was swept away by the Supreme Court last year. “In
early 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporate funding
of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be
limited pursuant to the right of these entities to
"Campaign Finance Reform"
Centralized Political Power with Party Leadership!
The much heralded campaign finance reform 10 years ago
was a complete sham! Wherever there is money, influence and power to be had you
can be sure those with the power are not going to give it up easily! Even
while the popular media touted earlier reforms as a path to eliminate the
over-influential effects of large contributors it became obvious to those
reading more deeply into the details that the "reforms" actually vested even
greater power with the central party committees.
Individual candidates became beneficiaries of party
generosity but only through obedience to the central dictates. Without
funding by and mostly directed by the central party could one hope to succeed at
the polls. Since these reforms were enacted, voting along party lines has
become more the norm with each successive Congress.
Meanwhile, the leadership has become
increasingly ridged and unwilling to compromise on such a great number of issues
that Congress is becoming paralyzed, even in the face of mounting debt and
world-wide concern. The U.S. credit rating has now been downgraded for
these reasons. Congress has become factionalized into defiant caucuses
and, according to political news letters and internet blogs, the national mood
is worsening. The grip of political ideologues and special interests MUST
be broken! Campaign financing does find many ways to
circumvent the law.
Wikipedia - History,
527's, etc. Traditional funding is long
Who's Who in the World of Super PACs?
PAC's acquire unlimited capacity to raise money for candidates! "Today, a
political committee has the power to make one phone call and get an unlimited
amount of money from a corporation, union or individual."
Campaign finance evolution in 2010 - Wikipedia:
At issue here is who can inject money into the financing of
political campaigns, in what manner, and up to what limits.
Campaign finance is a broad activity. On September 18, 2009, the
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Emily's
List v FEC. The case’s main impact was to invalidate certain rules of the
Federal Election Commission (FEC) as to what constituted a “solicitation”
by a federally registered
PAC, the proceeds of which were subject to reporting under federal
regulations. Based upon technical reasons Emily's List remains unfettered.
Campaign finance in the United States - Wikipedia:
PACs. Bundlers, 527 organizations, hard money and soft money!
Many ways exist and are created to get around the
Federal Election Commission (FEC) and regulations that try to limit "big
money" from becoming overly influential in American politics.
Wiki World Order: Here's another interesting viewpoint.
Integrity is our #1 National Issue!
If voters are to have any hope of directing the course of
American politics in a fashion that better reflects the desires of the nation we
must bring Congress and the presidency back in line where what is best for the
nations comes before party agendas. Naturally there will always be great
divisions in perspective and priorities. The problem is that far too much
of Congress favors big money and party dictates even if hurts the nation at
Lobbyists Congressional Influence
For years now it has been common knowledge that
lobbyists have been gaining power in the halls of Congress. Often
referred to "K Street", where many of the lobbyists have offices,
lobbyists have become enormously influential in influencing legislation on
behalf of their clients. It wasn't until
Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists got out of
prison and published his book Capital Punishment did the the extent
of K Street influence and their tactics become openly available to the
This is a critical issue for the citizens of this
country to face. The scope and depth of influential lobbyists is just now
being brought to light in many media sources listed below. Plain,
pure and simple; this is an issue of who holds the power in Washington.
Only persistent public awareness will create the pressure to bring things
back in balance. And "balance" is the key word here. Citizens,
businesses, unions and the like do need a voice in congress as vital
legislation is being considered. Unfortunately the Congressional
environment has become corrupted with gifts, promises of future employment
and favoritism. The end result is that we, the citizens, are ignored and
left to pay the bill for the benefits given to the privileged and
influential. On this point the various "occupy" groups have a valid
Now, please check out the depth and breadth of
the influences within Congress at the links below. If you haven't
been glued to the TV in recent weeks it will amaze you!
The United State Senate does have a
database of lobbyists that provides an initial view of the scope of
lobbying. However, this site is useful only if one knows the name of the
lobbyist, organization, etc.
Abramoff- Members of Congress Took Part in Insider Trading
Congress Insiders: Above the law?
Cafferty Files - Congress Got Rich During the Recession
Politics 'Revolving Door' Investigation
explanation of various 501 organizations such as lobbying, fund
Lobbyists have too Much Power
Washington Post, Lobbyists and the Super Committee
Top Lobbyist Associations
Top Lobbyists: Hired Guns
Huffington Post, Deficit Committee Members Have Former Lobbyists As Top
Summary: Lobbyists and their excessive
influence are robbing the American people of equal representation.
One Senator, after leaving Congress following a scandal, became one
of the highest paid lobbyists in Washington. He later privately admitted,
"I should have made the change earlier." One TV commentator discouraged by
the barrage of Congressional dealings that this sounds like "the end of
empires." This and the other issues on this page represent a major power
struggle. The ONLY way that the citizens of this nation can hope for
a brighter and fairer future is to stay knowledgeable and persistent in
demands that Congress responds to what is best for the nation and not
Party politics including
expanded report! (Sources are disappearing!)
Example of Political Power:
"Official Backs Colleagues,"
December 5, 2003:
Congressman Smith "said
unnamed House colleagues had told him that 'interested groups' might help
his son's congressional campaign if the lawmaker would vote for Medicare
legislation that faced a showdown vote Nov. 22. But no one offered
financial assistance, he said, despite news accounts to the contrary. '
He refused, and some lawmakers reportedly said the
decision could hurt his son Brad's hopes of succeeding his father. (Smith
was the last holdout against passing Medicare, Part D with limitations
placed upon the government's ability to negotiate for lower prescription prices.
Prescription costs are now the single biggest threat to Medicare. Smith
also backed off his original claims that the House leadership had threatened his
son's campaign if he (Smith) did not change his stand against the bill as
presented to the House.)
Political pressures can become intense when legislation
is being considered. Rumors abound. And, no one wants to talk about
it! There has always been the usual quid-pro-quo, support my bill
and I'll support yours, etc. Then there are extra "ear marks" for
those who support high priority bills. But when all else fails party
leaders threaten to withdraw campaign funding for the next primary
election and run a candidate of their preference. What the home
constituency wants or needs is irrelevant.
It has been observed that voting along party lines has
been increasing for years ever since the earlier campaign finance reforms
place far greater control with the central congressional committees.
Summary: It is impossible to control
how political party leaderships behave out of sight. It's just pure
power politics. However, if one wants to chip away at the
dictatorial powers of Congressional leaders one might choose to make their
campaign donations directly to their candidate and NEVER to the central
committee, PACs or similar groups that could exert influence over the candidate.
- Finding Where Truth Hides
Secret White House Power Grab:
On December 10, 2010
I wrote a warning about
- Basically, it empowered two people in the
DoD to decide that a company poses “an
unacceptable supply chain risk” and then block that company from being
awarded contracts. Two persons -
disclosure or review under the Freedom of Information Act or review by
branch of the government.
the notorious Section 815 was removed in the final bill, H.R. 6523.
Financial Terrorism – Real or
Not? Evidence is emerging that several foreign
nations are seeking to undermine the U.S. and the dollar. During these
times of national and world economic turmoil, can Congress be counted
upon to protect us? See
Lame Duck Congress exempts itself from everything, infinity
Pledges lock in Congressional deadlock. Both political
parties have created pledge lists reflecting ridged positions that prevent
any true negotiation or cooperation.
Consider the behavior of our current-day politicians. Whether in Congress
or State government (i.e., Ex-Gov. Blagojevich.)
Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D. is an intriguing look
at these devious, tricky people who live a life without a conscience. "As
many as 4% of the population are conscienceless
Campaign Finance Links
Costs of running a
Power of Money: The Ethics of Campaign Finance Reform
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission allows corporations
to run political advertising without limits!
Re: Campaign Finance Reform, an interesting review...
(The U.S. isn't the only nation with this
Campaign Finance Reform - One Proposal!
Congress Lacks True Leadership
Definition of Leadership -
Before we get started, lets define leadership. Leadership is a process
by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and
directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and
coherent. Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences
a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
Boss or Leader?
Although one's position as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. provides
the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the
organization, this power does not make one a leader, it simply
makes you the boss.
Lobbyist Influence Links
Read more about Jack Abramoff
Follow The Money - Search lobbyists in various state politics
Follow The Money
Lobbyist: Forcing contractors to disclose donations injects politics
into policy Pending executive
More than Just Lobbying
What is the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act?
And There is Also Gerrymandering!
Wikipedia: "In the process of setting electoral districts,
gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to
establish a political advantage
Gerrymandering in Chicago! Classic Chicago Politics! You just
gotta check out this Congressional district!
"The person who won't read is no
better off than the person who can't read."
Better Than Good by Zig Ziglar
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