Dear Democrats: This is How You Slay the Corruption Dragon

Senator Elizabeth Warren today spoke at the National Press Club to outline the features of her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act bill. It’s fearless and it’s right. It’s about revamping how the entire system works so that we won’t need to drain the swamp because it won’t get a chance to get re-created.   It will re-orient the balance of power so that corporations and their lobbyists won’t rule the roost.  Here’s her speech:

What is genuinely compelling about this is that she correctly identifies the “crisis of faith” in how our government operates now, but makes sure that everyone complicit is included:
“Let’s face it: There’s no real question that the Trump era has given us the most nakedly corrupt leadership this nation has seen in our lifetimes.  But they are not the cause of the rot — they’re just the biggest, stinkiest example of it. Corruption is a form of public cancer, and Washington’s got it bad.”

This is an ambitious program and one she clearly understands will be very difficult for both Democrats and Republicans in Washington to get behind.  But there is a minor industry of Democratic candidates doing campaign finance reform on a DIY basis — pledging not to take corporate money.  I can imagine Democrats and Republicans laughing at these efforts for people-focused campaigns — wait til they get here and see the REAL world — but Democrats should see this as an opportunity.  We’re supposed to be the party who is committed to government working for the people.  Here’s a pathway to get re-oriented to that AND to keep your Culture of Corruption message alive.

The Major highlights of Senator Warren’s bill:

  • Creates a new independent US Office of Public Integrity.  This office would be responsible for enforcing the government’s ethics laws, investigate violations and also work at making records more open to the public.
  • Creates a lifetime ban on returning to lobby the government for presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, federal judges, and Cabinet secretaries.
  • Creates a lobbying ban regime (of varying years) for federal employees (includes Congressional staff and employees of federal agencies).
  • Provides strict measures on lobbyists: Current corporate lobbyists or convicted CEOs are required to wait six years before taking ANY government job; requires that all meetings between lobbyists and lawmakers be disclosed; spending by companies on lobbying gets taxed above a set threshold; and; lobbyists can no longer contribute to federal campaigns.
  • Changes the rulemaking process to restrict the influence of lobbyists
  • Creates a requirement for the IRS to release eight years’ worth of tax returns for all presidential and vice presidential candidates.  It would also require the IRS to release the returns of the sitting President and Vice President each year they are in office.  Candidates for Congress would have two years of their tax returns released and their returns would be released each year they are in office.
  • Members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, White House staff, senior congressional staff, and other federal officials would be banned from owning individual stocks and expand the ban on gifts to these people while they hold office.
  • Creates a requirement for think tanks and industry front groups focused on policymaking influence report their funding sources and their editorial standards.  This would also create a criminal offense for publishing defective information.


37 comments on “Dear Democrats: This is How You Slay the Corruption Dragon

  1. So, she admits that Washington has a corruption problem, and yet she proposes to solve it by creating yet another Federal agency and layer of bureaucracy?

    Do you really think this is a message that will resonate at all with the average voter? That will inspire voters? Yay! Vote for us! Let’s create another government agency!


    • Yeah, that’s not the message average voters will take from this.

      • OK, what message will they take from this?

        • That’s easy! They’ll take the message that’s been hammered on all sides:

          – That the system is rigged against the little guy
          – That there are too many back room deals
          – That politicians get rich when they get elected
          – That ex-politicians get million dollar jobs they aren’t qualified for (*cough* Eric Cantor *cough)
          – That lobbyists get access denied everyone else
          – Releasing tax returns is a no brainer
          – Following the money is a universal agreement
          – That white collar criminals don’t serve enough (if any) jail time

          • I don’t think you would make a lot of money as a political consultant.

            8 bullet points with a bunch of close to random statements inspires…. nobody. Even if all of the items you list are accepted as true, what are you actually proposing to do about it?

            “That politicians get rich when they get elected…” from Elizabeth Warren of all people? A 1%er Harvard Law professor with a net worth north of 8 million who collects a half million dollars a year for teaching one class a semester, mostly because she is (wait for it)… a politician.

            “Following the money is a universal agreement…” What the hell does that even mean?

            Do you honestly think anyone actually cares what kind of jobs politicians get when they retire?

            • Got it. You care about everything I listed when it’s a Dem.

              8 bullet points with a bunch of close to random statements inspires…. nobody. Says the guy who voted on “Make America Great Again”

              • Yeah? Ask a real political consultant how effective the slogan was…

                A guy who never ran for public office before rode it all the way to the White House.

                What did Hill’s highly paid consultant crew come up with?

                I think it was something like “I’m with her”. Does anyone really remember?

                The defense rests.

            • She was a Harvard prof long before she was a politician. She became a politician because politicians resisted her banking reforms.

              You really, really need to get out of your bubble more often.

          • cassandram

            Americans see government corruption on the rise:

            44 per cent of Americans believe that corruption is pervasive in the White House, up from 36 per cent in 2016.

            Almost 7 out of 10 people believe the government is failing to fight corruption, up from half in 2016.

            Close to a third of African-Americans surveyed see the police as highly corrupt, compared to a fifth across the survey overall.

            55 per cent gave fear of retaliation as the main reason not to report corruption, up from 31 per cent in 2016.

            74 per cent said ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

            • A corruption push-poll from an organization called “Transparency International: The Global Coalition against Corruption”


          • cassandram

            Swing-District Voters See GOP As ‘More Corrupt

            Fifty-four percent of voters across 48 Republican-held congressional districts said Republicans are “more corrupt” than Democrats, compared with 46 percent who said Democrats are “more corrupt.”

            According to the online survey of 1,200 registered voters, conducted for the progressive Center for American Progress Action Fund from July 2-5, an even higher number of independents hold Republicans responsible for corruption: 60 percent.

            • An opinion piece from someone who made a living writing about corruption…

              54-46, not that big of a swing, probably within the noise.

          • cassandram

            As in previous years, corruption of government officials was top by a significant margin in 2017 with 74.5 percent of U.S. adults saying it makes them either “afraid” or “very afraid”.

            This year’s ranking reflects the political unrest and uncertainty brought about by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

            • A fear push poll, if you can imagine such a thing, that covers sharks, government use of drones within the US, insects/arachnids, ghosts, clowns, and of course, zombies.


          • cassandram

            It’s just another bad faith argument from xyz. He bought the “drain the swamp” bullshit and now that it is just getting swampier (and more explicitly criminal), he finds himself having to argue that no one cares about it. Which isn’t true and hasn’t been true for a very long time and on a fairly bipartisan basis. There aren’t many people who read this blog who would tell you with a straight face that this government places a priority on working for them or their families. If the Democrats were in charge, you’d agree. But now that the Trump Crime Family is in charge, you are just fine with government corruption.

            • Here’s a hint – drain the swamp is not really about corruption, scandals, lobbyists, etc. That’s a small part of the issue.

              It’s about a government that is more concerned with rules for the sake of rules rather than doing anything to actually help people.

              It’s about a government that brings in people with no experience whatsoever in the private sector and has them make all the rules that the private sector has to abide by.

              It’s about working class and middle class people sending quite a bit of their hard earned cash to the Federal government each year and not being real happy about the return on the investment.

              It’s about an endless parade of Ivy League lawyers telling ordinary people how to live their lives.

              It’s about an equally endless parade of “journalists” spooning up the Ivy League nonsense and mindlessly regurgitating it on your TV and cellphone screens every day.

              • So it’s about your resentment of all those people who are smarter than you. Yeah, we knew that.

                • cassandram

                  Of course we knew that. And look at this fool dismissing mostly good polling on what Americans think about corruption in government. He can’t get out of any of the bad faith arguments — arguments he would NOT be making if it was Dems in office. Astonishing how these folks will give up any integrity they might have once had for this grifter and his crime family.

                • Sorry Alby, I know the bit about journalists hit a bit close to home.

                  But I was talking about real journalists.

                  • Had nothing to do with the journalists part. The “quite a bit of their hard-earned cash” part was where you showed your colors. If you really thought that you’d be in favor of higher taxation of the rich, for whom our imperialism exists.

                    I pay no attention to insults from the anonymous. I’ve been insulted by far better than you. When you want to tell us who you are so we’re on an even field, I’ll take you seriously. Until then you are what you are, an insecure man who thinks he’s smarter than other people but has no evidence to back it up.

                • cassandram

                  And just in time: Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt

                  “”Cohen’s admission makes it harder for Republicans to claim that Trump didn’t violate the law. But it doesn’t really matter. For many Republicans, Trump remains uncorrupt—indeed, anti-corrupt—because what they fear most isn’t the corruption of American law; it’s the corruption of America’s traditional identity.”

                  Translation — as long as the GRIFTUS is here for the white people, it doesn’t matter how criminal he or his minions are.

  2. Love every bit of it, especially banning politicians from lobbying, would love to see the famed “revolving door” between holding high office and lobbying slammed shut.

    • cassandram

      Me too. I really like how this rips out the knitting of how portions of government work for their own convenience. There’s some upper middle level management and analysts I would worry about — the real technocrats who know how to make the levers of government work. Not sure we want to these folks to wait to get back into office especially if they are gone because Admins change. That’s solvable, I think, but on the whole undoing the worst of the self-serving stuff that happens in government is a giant step.

  3. This won’t play so well…

    “The real tragedy”

    Oh dear.

    • My, but you’re scared. Nobody outside your bubble even noticed the story. I’m sure you’ll try to trump it up into something (see what I did there?) and all the simps will wail about if for weeks. The truth, sadly, is that murdering young vulnerable women is a job all too many Americans are willing to do.

      • Oh, and your misogyny is showing again. You lot are so predictable.

    • cassandram

      It’s also not on topic. So you don’t know any better by now? You run out of talking points then go grab another set. Back on topic or get gone.

      • Just giving you the first thread with double digit comments in the last month or so.

        See ya in a few weeks.

        • cassandram

          Next time don’t spend so much time embarrassing yourself.

        • I’ll add blogging to the list of things you don’t know much about. Comments do not equal readership.

  4. I wonder if she’ll demand voter ID’s for all?

    Would she be doing this if Hillary was elected……NOT!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: