How Congressional Scandals Influence Your Trip to the Drug Store
January 26, 2006
This USA Today piece examines the bribery and fraud scandals currently rocking Washington. Tens of millions of dollars, along with luxury travel and expensive gifts, have been used to influence or outright bribe members of Congress.
The problems are personified by Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who gave money and favors to the rich and powerful, and billed the Indian tribes that were his clients $82 million.
He is cooperating with federal prosecutors on a case that may implicate members of Congress and Bush administration officials.
The Abramoff scandal comes in addition to Republican majority leader Tom DeLay stepping down from his leadership post after being charged with felony conspiracy to launder campaign money, and Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigning after pleading guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes.
32,890 lobbyists were registered last year, three times the number registered ten years ago. Annual spending on lobbying has grown from $800 million in 1996 to $2.2 billion in 2005.