Jack Abramoff: End Government Corruption By Banning All Gifts And Contributions From Lobbyists

Jack Abramoff, who knows a thing or two about corrupt government, has some thoughts on how to end government corruption. Ironically, though, his ideas wouldn’t even have stopped the corruption Abramoff himself engaged in.

In the 3½ years he spent at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., Abramoff says he paced the track at the medium security prison day after day, “consumed” by the problem of how government can be cleaned up.

One of the conclusions he draws is to entirely eliminate any campaign contributions by lobbyists, those bidding for federal contracts and anyone else who stands to benefit financially from public funds.

Lobbyists should not only be banned from making campaign donations, but they should also not be allowed to give gifts, he argues.

“Instead of limiting the amount of money a lobbyist may spend on wining and dining congressional members and staff, eliminate it entirely,” says Abramoff, himself guilty of once having lavished contributions, meals, event tickets, travel, golf and jobs on federal officials. “No finger food, no snacks, no hot dogs. Nothing.”

The ex-lobbyist also proposes eliminating the “lure of post-public service lobbying employment,” suggesting anyone who served in Congress or as a congressional aide should be “barred for life” from lobbying the government.

“That may seem harsh — and it is,” he says, but nonetheless adds, “If you choose public service, choose it to serve the public, not your bank account. When you’re done serving, go home. Get a real job.”

Banning political contributions and gifts from lobbyists would be a meaningless bit of reform. Lobbyists would get around that by having their clients make the contributions/gifts directly. Which is exactly what Abramoff did. Case in point, former Senator Byron Dorgan got $73,000 in contributions from Jack Abramoff’s clients, but maintains to this day that he never actually met Abramoff and never took any money from Abramoff. Which are both technically true, but Dorgan certainly knew who Abramoff’s clients were.

The truth is that the key to limiting government corruption is to limit government power. The less influence politicians have to sell to people like Abramoff and/or their clients the less corruption it will be.

Think of government as a sort of protection racket run by organized crime. Lobbyists facilitate tribute payments to the local bosses in exchange for favors. The more power the government has to sell, the bigger the tribute payments and the more need for lobbyists.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    You’d think he would have known that when he was using money to corrupt politicians.

    This gop criminal is partly right in that monetary gifts are bad for our government.
    He should take the next logical step and join with real Americans who want all private money out of government and support publicly funded elections. 

  • Dallas

    Hey, having Jack lecture others about corruption is like having Ed Schafer lecture on business; Rob talk about weight loss programs or Scott talk paying bills.

  • 2hotel9

    He knows of what he speaks.

    Funny, Democrat Party c*cksucker  realitybasedbob defends government corruption. Ain’t that special.

  • Camsaure

    I guess that part that did make sense was to make all retired congressmen unable to lobby at all forever.

    • Jack Daniels

      There are bans for government officials who leave office or the military, but Congress exempted itself just like they do for everything else.  People rail against millionaires being elected to congress but at least they can go back to a career.  I detest “public servants” who go to Washington with nothing, receive a salary insufficient to even get a home in DC, yet leave as millionaires, living in million dollar “mansions” or beach houses, like Dorgan & Conrad. 

    • 2hotel9

      Not only should any person who has held elected positions in Congress, and state Legislatures, be permanently banned from all lobbying after leaving office they should also be permanently banned from ALL government positions, hired or appointed, and if they are lawyers permanently banned from practicing law. Period. Full stop.  This would bring a halt to much of the corruption in all levels of government. 

    • Saragudat3

      It is time for our government to be given back to the
      people.  Let’s allow capitalism to flourish on its
      own rather than forcing monopolies.  It’s time to
      outlaw paid lobbyists.  The only “lobbyists” should
      be individuals representing their individual legitimate
      interests.  These people deserve the ear of their
      representatives who should then fairly determine the worth
      of the petitioner’s plea without seeking their own
      political gain.  It’s time to get back to government
      by the people and for the people.

      If you agree that our elected representatives are all too often swayed by personal gain when it comes to their decision making, please sign this petition in support of outlawing represented lobbyists in our democratic system.
      We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama 
      Administration to take action on a range of issues.  If a petition gets 
      enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.
       
      You can view and sign the petition here:
       
      http://wh.gov/b2A

  • Jack Daniels

    Rank & file members of the House and Senate are paid $174k per year.  A 3-star General makes slightly more  but gets paid a non-taxable housing allowance (BAH) or receives free housing on top of that. I’m not comparing military leadership to congress, since the former has much more integrity than the latter.

    Considering that members of congress have demonstrated some ambition that would perhaps draw bigger private sector salaries, perhaps they should be paid better, but in exchange they should be banned from lobbying or ever doing business directly with the government again after they leave office.

    Any campaign contributions they’ve still got on hand when they leave office should be turned over to the Presidential election fund or into the general fund to reduce the national debt they created, rather than going with the senator or congressman leaving office.  You know Dorgan & Conrad decided to retire rather than run again so that they could take their huge war chests with them rather than waste them in a losing effort.  There’d be no incentive to keep donating to a lame duck who announced they’re not running again if the money went to the Treasury instead of into retirement with the politician.

    Lastly, make insider trading prohibitions and penalties apply to Congress, just like they do everyone else.  If lawyers and accountants working on an IPO can’t benefit from their own work, why should a member of congress be able to benefit from regulatory information available to them?

    • 2hotel9

      “Considering that members of congress have demonstrated some ambition that would
      perhaps draw bigger private sector salaries, perhaps they should be paid better”

      No, they should be paid less, far less.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    End Government Corruption By Banning All Gifts And Contributions From Lobbyist.

    Start with insider trading which the congress and senate is permitted to do legally.

  • SigFan

    As they say, it takes a thief to catch a thief.  Abramoff is obviously a perfect example of the corruption that lives in our government, but perhaps his conviction and incarceration have given him enough incentive to change his ways.  His advice may need some modification to be effective, but he’s right that the influence and wealth dangled in front of the politicians is more than most of them can resist.

    • 2hotel9

      Democrats always screech about “experts” and how we have to do what they say. So, why are they refusing to do as this “expert” says we should do? Oh, yea, all that money they are stealing. Never mind.

  • Mary_Pearson

    The corporations can ensure the lobbyists have money to do their work, they shouldn’t need to give that back to the politicians.  

  • SP

    Pass around the crack pipe and I;ll try restarting this article again.  Is it me or does this SHIT begin with a credibility genereating bit about how Jack knows because he HAS CONTEMPLATED THESE ISSUES WHILE PACING THE TRACK AT JAIL?

    Is this not the pro-apartheid c*nt neo-con criminal racist DOUCHE or is this some other person named Jack Abramoff?

    Why are you dumbshits still flirting with this DOUCHE?

    • 2hotel9

      Poor sparkie, mommy is mean! Refusing to give you her welfare money to buy your “meds”.

  • SP

    Also, if you quote something, link it.

    • 2hotel9

      Poor sparkie, mommy is mean! Refusing to give you her welfare money to buy your “meds”.

  • SP

    So Port, do you agree with Abramoff’s prescription?  Sounds mighty anti free-market to me.

    • 2hotel9

      Poor sparkie, mommy is mean! Refusing to give you her welfare money to buy your “meds”.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      No, i don’t.

      Political contributions are a form of political speech.

      • 2hotel9

        It is funny how our resident leftards are all defending criminals. Here, the Occupados, Muslim Terrorists and on and on.

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    Jack, the gop criminal, also said this:

    Jack Abramoff, the infamous K Street ex-lobbyist, says in an upcoming
    “60 Minutes” interview that he had 100 Congressmen in his pocket and
    reveals his best weapon for gaining influence was to promise a
    high-paying job to the lawmakers’ top staffers
    .

    “Now, the moment I
    said that to them or any of our staff said that to them, that was it. 
    We owned them
    [the members of Congress],” Abramoff said in an interview
    with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that will air on Sunday, excerpts of which were
    first reported in POLITICO Playbook on Thursday.

    “And what does that mean? Every request … of our
    clients, everything that we want, they’re going to do. Not only that,
    they’re going to think of things we can’t think of to do,”
    said the
    former lobbyist who served about three and a half years in prison after
    being convicted in a bribery scheme.

    The tactics, Abramoff said, allowed his lobbying firm to hold sway
    with about 100 members of Congress. “I would view that as a failure,
    because that leaves 335 offices that we didn’t have strong influence
    in,” he added.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/67519.html#ixzz1ceNnKeO4

    Which party is opposed to blocking this revolving door?
    Oh that’s right, it’s gop.

    • 2hotel9

      And here is boob defending his criminal heroes again. Come on, boob! Post more defense of your criminal heroes. Show us who you are.

    • 2hotel9

      And don’t forget to throw in your hatred for America. That always makes you look good.

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    Your comments always makes you look good.

    • 2hotel9

      Ah, poor little boob is gonna cry now. I know! Tell us how America is evil and you want it destroyed, again. That always makes you look good.

    • 2hotel9

      I have added to the dragon collection. You really should learn how to keep up, stupid c*nt.

  • Marlowe1

    You have hit the nail right on the head. The ONLY reason lobbyists give money to politicians is for favors. If you limit government and the favors they have to give then why would a lobbyist try to bribe them.

    • 2hotel9

      You have stumbled upon what lawyers lovingly call “legal distinction”. A bribe is illegal, on its face, where as what lobbyists do, for the most part, is not. The problem arises from the fact that law enforcement refuses to do their due diligence, another term lawyers love to toss about. If, and there is that infinite stumbling block to humanity, if, law enforcement did their jobs lobbyists would not be the problem they are. And therein lies the rub, the very crux of the matter, one hand refusing to see what the other hand is doing. Often in collusion, yet another lawyerly term, one with the other. 

  • mark

    Enactment of a law limiting all elected offices to one term would be a good start. Investigations by state legislaters along with long prison terms might put a damper on the wholesale corruption in D.C.

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