Where as this is a particular article in the newspaper, there have been a total of four related stories that paint a complete picture of legislative corruption at the state and federal level. There is the Obama story, Abramoff alligations, the Pelosi denials and the Florida Legislature failure to not only acknowledge but also to act on the results of a statewide Grand Jury investigation on corruption.
Then when you look at the financial data, all of a sudden these windows of corruption become murals of democratice process that has been subverted by personal and corporate greet.
The unfolding Obama story: Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal “….Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.
When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show….”
The Abramoff Story: “……As many as a dozen members of Congress and their aides took part in insider trading based on foreknowledge of market moving information on Capitol Hill, disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff told CNBC in an interview……” and then “…Generally, however, legal analysts say that Wall Street insider trading laws do not apply to Congress. As an open and public institution, the legal assumption has long been that any member of the public can have access to information about how Congress works. In practice, though, that’s simply not true, as powerful members of Congress come into contact daily with market-moving tidbits. That gap between the law and the reality has made Capitol Hill a virtual free-fire zone for insider trading….”
Congress Members Took Part in Insider Trading: Abramoff
Pelosi fires back at ’60 Minutes’ report on ‘soft corruption’:: The show looked at the investments of various lawmakers — including Pelosi, House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama — who reportedly bought stocks around the same time legislation involving those investments was being discussed.
Pelosi and her husband participated in an initial public offering of Visa in 2008, according to CBS. They bought 5,000 shares at the initial price of $44; two days later, shares were trading at $64, CBS said…..”
Link: Pelosi fires back at ’60 Minutes’ report on ‘soft corruption’
Link: California Congress: The Richest 1%
Link: How Visa Courted Nancy Pelosi, Hoping to Forestall Swipe-Fee Changes
This is a bottom line of sorts where there is no spin. There is a lot that can be said about this and that but census numbers are a grounded reality that validate the windows we get on our government. Yes, a lot is hidden behind closed doors but the truth is the same and it has been since the time of Will Rogers, Henry David Thoreau and Gen. Smedly Butler. There is more money to be made in Washington than in industry, medicine or education. Business spends money in Washington because they can get the best return on their income there. If that was not the case then they would not be spending money there.
The most unequal state in the U.S.: The District of Columbia
Gini Index: 0.540
P90/10 Index: 21.987
P95/20 Index: 13.722
It shouldn’t come as a shock that the capital city — which also ranks as the fourth-poorest state in the U.S. — would have off-the-charts income inequality. And we’re not kidding when we say “off the charts.” In a district where rich politicians and lobbyists live blocks from poor neighborhoods, a resident at the 90th percentile of income makes 22 times as much as someone at the 10th percentile. If the politicians in Washington want to understand why people are complaining about income inequality, they don’t need to look far.
There is another part of this story on page two. Places that have the largest desparity of income also have the higher violent crime rates and ratios. Washington is indeed a violent city. There is the story of the federal prison that housed Washington criminals was closed and moved to USP Coleman Pen 1. They remained in lock down more than any prison I have ever known.
This is an interesting take on income equality and a sideways validation of the politics of corruption in Washington and in turn every state legislature in the nation.
“….Government policies. Government actions — and, in some cases, inaction — have contributed to the increase in wage and income inequality in most states. Examples include deregulation and trade liberalization, the weakening of the social safety net, the lack of effective labor laws regulating the right to collective bargaining, and the declining real value of the minimum wage. In addition, changes in federal, state, and local tax structures and benefit programs have, in many cases, accelerated the trend toward growing inequality emerging from the labor market…..”
Link: Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends
Is Florida Grand Jury on Public Corruption Corrupt Itself – 19th Grand Jury Fails to Clean Up FL: “…Florida’s Broward County has been coined Corruption County around the world for its notorious pay for play political scandals, particularly in the arena of land development. Florida’s last Governor, Charlie Crist petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for a Grand Jury Investigation after several Broward County Commissioners, Broward County School Board Members, and Pompano Beach CRA advisors were found to be involved in bribery and fraud as related to land grabbing and development deals on grand scales. The Pompano Beach CRA was found to have been taking property illegally from citizens, churches, and businesses for over a decade. With this, the 19th Statewide Grand Jury on Public Corruption was born to complete a year of investigation that recently ended in February 2011…”
Link: Is Florida Grand Jury on Public Corruption Corrupt Itself – 19th Grand Jury Fails to Clean Up FL
Link: Tea party picks up ethics issue as Gov. Scott retreats
The window of political corruption gets murkier when you look at the battle shapping up over pending casino gambling bills in the state legislature. It seems as if every lobbyist is lined up on one or the other side. Former Gov. Askew says campaign financing is “obscene”