Jeffrey H. Birnbaum of The Washington Post published an analysis on the public's growing discontent of the coziness between big money lobbyists and our elected officials in Washington, DC. Birnbaum writes that corruption in Washington as a front page issue is cyclical (occurring roughly every 10 years) but the most recent scandals have driven the public’s distrust of Congress to a new low.
And, of course, one if not the main artery at the heart of this attack on the public’s trust is former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
“About 40 investigators and prosecutors are also looking into the activities of several lawmakers, including Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R), who is facing unrelated campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas. Burns, Doolittle and DeLay have denied any wrongdoing.
“The Post has also reported that investigators are gathering information about Abramoff's hiring of several congressional spouses, including DeLay's wife, Christine, who worked from 1998 to 2002 with a lobbying firm run by former DeLay staffers, and Doolittle's wife, Julie, who owned a consulting firm that was hired by Abramoff and his former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, to do fundraising for a charity he founded.”
But all news is not bad news when it comes to money in politics. The Connecticut legislature is on the verge of passing one of the most comprehensive campaign finance reform measures that the country has ever seen (they vote on the bill on Wednesday). The bill would provide public financing of elections to all state offices (House, Senate, and State-wide), impose strict spending limits, and enact strong restrictions on political contributions.