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The Quid Pro Quo That Keeps Washington Corrupt (With a Note on Roe v Wade)


Rep. Mo Brooks explains how Washington really works

By Thomas Neuburger


NOTE: With the bombshell release of the leak of the Roe v. Wade draft decision, a ruling that will void both Roe and Casey when it becomes "law" — because yes, the Supreme Court now writes law — I want to point out Cenk Uygur's comments near the end of the piece below.


If you are a Roe advocate, or a choice advocate, and you think the Democratic Party will somehow save this situation, you can relax and stop the conniptions — they won't. From Bloomberg: "Biden Pledges to Try to Enshrine Roe Into Law If Court Strikes Down Landmark Ruling".


This means, first, that Biden and the national Democratic Party have no plans to fix the Court, which is the source of the problem. And second, it means that the national Democratic Party plans to fix the national choice problem using the broken process that failed to get even his own agenda passed.


As Uygur says, quoted below, regarding the corruption that has metastasized in both political parties:

[Cenk Uygur:] Democrats do it too [i.e., are corrupted by money as well]. Definitely. Do not ever listen to corporate media telling you, "Oh, when Mitch McConnell takes the money, oh, it is nefarious." ... But if Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden take it, "Oh, it is angelic. It's all charity. It's all for the public good."
No. You saw [that the Democratic majority] didn't pass a single thing that would help the average American worker when they had clear majorities in the House, the Senate, and the presidency.
[The Democrats protest,] "Oh, well, it's because other Democrats wouldn't go along." Why wouldn't they go along? For this exact reason. You remember, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, two Democrats [who] went to go collect checks from the [National] Restaurant Association after they voted against the 15 dollar minimum wage. What was the special interest most interested in defeating the 15 dollar minimum wage? The National Restaurant Association. [emphasis his]

It certainly seems that the national Democratic Party is too corrupted by money to be of help to actual people. You saw it during the last two years and you'll see it with Roe. They'll respond vociferously (they have to, considering their constituents), but do little that's effective. You just can't serve money and stay on the side of the angels. That circle can't be squared.


And now to the original piece planned for today.

 

I've written about this elsewhere, but these facts are so little known that they bear repeating. Fortunately we have Lauren Windsor's undercover reporting (see video below) to point them out again.


Fact: Both parties in the House force members to buy their way on important committees. The going rate for an "A group" committee seat, like Ways and Means where the money gets doled out, starts at 1 million dollars and goes up from there.


Where does a congressperson get that kind of money?


Fact: From lobbyists, who often specify explicitly what their money should buy them. Thus when a House member takes that money, she or he knowingly agrees to the trade.


Note in these transactions there are two quids and two quos. First, money from lobbyists is given by elected House members to the NRCC and the DCCC for use in buying House seats during primaries and elections (almost none of which gets spent on progressives). That's the first quid pro quo — the purchase of committee seats, and especially chairmanships, from party leaders by elected House members.


The second quid pro quo is what the lobbyists' money buys from the favored House member — his or her vote on legislation the lobbyists' clients are interested in.


Note that all this quidding and quoing starts with the parties themselves. If House committee seats weren't for sale, House members wouldn't need to go to lobbyists to raise cash for them. Thus both parties abet in creating a corrupt system, and both parties benefit from it. In other words, the corruption is institutional and institutionally enforced by the parties.


The corruption is also perfectly legal, which is why (almost) everyone feels perfectly free to do it.


Mo Brooks Explains how Washington Really Works


The latest revelation of these facts comes from corrupt House member Mo Brooks (R-AL), who spilled those particular beans in an apparent attempt to curry favor with Alabama constituents in his so-far-failing campaign for a Senate seat.



Consider the secretly recorded video above. I've transcribed most of it (very lightly edited for clarity) below for those who prefer reading to listening.

[Mo Brooks:] I'm sure y'all are very much concerned about why our Congress is so unresponsive to the regular needs of American citizens, why some of these policies that come out are so bizarre, so unfair, so skewered [sic; he means skewed] against regular Jane and Joe Citizen. The reason is simple. Special interest groups run Washington, and I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean literally.
Here is how it happens. In the House of Representatives — I use that as an example because that's where I work — if you want to be chairman of a major committee, you have to purchase it. And the purchase price for a major committee, like Ways and Means, [the] minimum bid is a million dollars. Now I'm talking literally here. I'm not talking metaphorically.
We have committees broken down by A group, B group, and C group. C are the cheapest, B are middling, A is the most expensive. [A group] is the most expensive because those are the committees that the special interest groups care the most about.
So where does a congressman come up with a million dollars to be chairman of one of these A committees? You can't get it from Joe and Jane Citizen because Joe and Jane Citizen back home, they're not going to be contributing that kind of money. ...
You have to get it from the special interest groups, and with the special interest groups there is a quid pro quo. If you don't do what they tell you to do, they won't give you the money that finances your chairmanship.

Then Brooks provided examples:

I had one guy who ran for chairman of the NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee], which is where the Republicans pay their money for these committee assignments and chairmanships, just as the Democrats pay theirs to the DCCC. And this guy who wanted to be chair of the NRCC actually had a brochure. And that brochure had price listings listed on it. And his argument for getting elected was, "Elect me. I will charge you less."
Now you understand how the public policy debate is corrupted. ... You have to do what the special interest groups require, which undermines the public policy debate. The money now is triumph[ant].
I'll give you a second example, so it's not [just] Mo Brooks talking. ... Congressman Thomas Massie, who by the way endorsed me yesterday ... he had a lobbyist come up to him, and the lobbyist said, "Look, I will pay your $500,000 to be on Ways and Means if you will sponsor this patent bill."
Thomas is brilliant, he has patents, MIT grad. And Thomas said, "Okay, I'll look at it."
And he looked at it and he said, "No, this hurts the small inventor. The people with the power and the money are going to use that power and money to steal the patent rights from the person who actually had the idea, who should be reaping the rewards of that idea."
So Thomas went back to the lobbyist and said, "No, I'm not going to do it."
The lobbyist said, "Okay, I'm not going to pay that $500,000."
Thomas Massie got that published on the front page of USA Today, that story. And I saw it, and I'm going, "Finally, somebody else in the House of Representatives who is honorable, who is ethical, and sees the corruption associated with this process."

Note the self-aggrandizement, by the way. Brooks is running for, and losing, the Senate seat in Alabama, and he obvious wants to paint himself as a drain-the-swamp guy, despite the sums that he himself has taken, and from whom he's taken it.


But back to Brooks:

And I went to Thomas and said, "Thank you for doing that [publishing the article]." And Thomas responded, "Well, I made one big mistake."
[And I said,] "It looked good to me."
[He] said, "Well, I talked about it [in the article] in terms of 'buying committee assignments,' when really it's a rental agreement [because] you have to pay [the party's committee membership fee] every two years."

And of course, the so-called "news" outlets are quite familiar with this arrangement.

Now the national media knows about this. Both political parties do it. So neither party rises to the occasion and makes this a major public policy issue that would increase exposure about what's getting done.

I'll bet everyone in Washington is familiar with this arrangement. It's just us rubes who are (kept) in the dark.


Austerity for Thee, Corruption for Me and My Friends


In a separate video discussing this revelation, The Young Turk's Cenk Uygur explains how these facts account for the austerity being visited on the country by its leaders:

[Cenk Uygur:] Democrats do it too. Definitely. Do not ever listen to corporate media telling you, "Oh, when Mitch McConnell takes the money, oh, it is nefarious." ... But if Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden take it, "Oh, it is angelic. It's all charity. It's all for the public good."
No. You saw [that the Democratic majority] didn't pass a single thing that would help the average American worker when they had clear majorities in the House, the Senate, and the presidency.
[The Democrats protest,] "Oh, well, it's because other Democrats wouldn't go along." Why wouldn't they go along? For this exact reason. You remember, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, two Democrats [who] went to go collect checks from the [National] Restaurant Association after they voted against the 15 dollar minimum wage. What was the special interest most interested in defeating the 15 dollar minimum wage? The National Restaurant Association. [emphasis his]

Where Are Our Electeds, the Progressives?


You might think that honest progressives, people like AOC and Cori Bush, would blow the whistle on this corruption. After all, they work for the people, right?


You would be wrong in that thinking. Have you heard such a denunciation from any of our progressive electeds? In the same video, Uygur explains why:

[Uygur:] By the way, progressives in Congress, you couldn't do that [speak like Mo Brooks just did]? You know why they didn't do it? Because it would offend their beloved Democratic colleagues, who all bought their chairmanship through corruption.
For example, Richie Neal, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, the [committee] that Mo Brooks mentioned because it's the most powerful committee in the House [and it] controls the money. The guy in charge of that committee is Richie Neal. He is a Democrat who is one of the most corrupt people in all of Congress. He often beats the Republicans in corruption. Why do you think he controls the most powerful committee in the House? Because he's the most corrupt.
But if progressives [talk blow the whistle like Brooks did], they're like, "Oh, that is a colleague! That is a colleague!"
And everybody in Washington will cry. And the press will blame them [progressives] for causing division within the Democratic Party by saying true things. ...

Uygur concludes: "So it takes a loathsome Republican on the last days of his desperate campaign to finally admit something that they all know.


Apparently it does, and via a secretly recorded video at that.


And that's how things work in Washington.


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