Last August I entered an article into this blog in which I began to describe the culture of corruption that exists in our nations’ capital, and that consists of those inhabitants that make their living in the dealings of our nations’ Congress.
I would like to build on this subject matter with this current entry.
Our elected representatives are not responsive to their constituency, and are in fact bought and paid for by special interests and party loyalty. This is not news to anyone. However, too often the acknowledgment of this reality has become relegated to the scope of “common knowledge”, and by doing so I believe most miss the weight of this reality. This is at the center of the problems with our Congress, and is also at the center of our nations’ need of government reform that GOOOH can provide.
“Culture of corruption” has become a common phrase used to describe Washington D.C., but there’s really few other good ways to describe it. Our government has become a closed society with few points of access for the everyday citizen, and those points that do exist are guarded closely by the two major parties. It is a society within our greater American society yet it has been hoisted and placed above us just out of our reach. They operate with their own rules, protocol and decorum. They enjoy hefty salaries, expensive perks, extraordinary healthcare benefits, and pension plans to which few can compare.
There are essentially three groups that occupy this “closed” society: the elected officials, their staffers, and the lobbyists. These three groups all work together, travel together, dine together, play together, and in some cases live and sleep together. They move back and forth and in and out of each group at times, between elections, jobs, posts, and positions, while scratching backs, shaking hands, rubbing elbows, greasing palms, making promises, and trading votes for campaign cash. Some merely move from one room to another without leaving the same building even though they may have been fired from their job through the election process. Others rise from staff positions to elected office while others hire lobbyists to run their staff entirely. They have become a, “ruling class”, if you will.
The result is that our elected officials are truly separated from the purpose and constituents that sent them to Washington in the first place, and it will be the ruin of our republic.
Allow me to provide an example: Senator John C Culver started his political career in 1962 as a legislative assistant (staffer) to Senator Ted Kennedy before returning to Iowa in 1964 to run for the U.S. House, and he won. After 5 terms as a representative he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1974 and won. He served on several committees including the Environmental, Public Works, and Small Business. In 1981 he retired from the senate and began work for the lobbying firm Arent Fox LLP where he developed and leads the “Government Relations” team. This team’s sole purpose is lobbying federal legislation. Arent Fox LLP also boasts of employing another former senator, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a former Ambassador, the former mayor of the District of Columbia, and a former member of the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Never heard of John C. Culver? Neither had I, but I have heard of Sen. Bob Bennett (R), who lost a reelection bid last year to a Tea Party candidate, and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) who retired from the senate last fall. They too are now employed at Arent Fox LLP. Currently they are listed as advisors since law prohibits a former congress member from lobbying for the subsequent two years after they leave office. But I’m sure their legislative talents will be tapped after that time expires. They and many like them will for years be shaping laws and regulations and policies that effect mine and your life while having to never answer to us. This is the norm, not the exception.
Now multiply that by nearly 535 members of both houses of congress, not to mention the revolving door in the executive branch, and one can see how our representatives have become so out of touch with you and me. This is not true representative government. It must change before it’s too late.
GOOOH is the process that can put an end to this closed society. By promoting and electing everyday citizens to the U.S. House, we can return to a true representative government that our founding fathers envisioned.
Please take the time to investigate the GOOOH process yourself by visiting the website www.goooh.com, where you can join for free. Encourage friends and family to get involved with GOOOH. Educate yourself on the process and learn how to hold mock selection sessions (MSS). There is likely a local GOOOH group in your area. If not, start one.
Together we can put and end to the corruption in our government and open this society to everyday Americans, but only if we do the heavy lifting ourselves.
GOOOH - Ga. 7th District
*all information pertaining to former and current members of congress used in this article can be found @ www.opensecrets.org