Revolving door just no longer cuts it to describe how large corporate interests have swallowed up the government officials that are supposed to be working in our interest.
First Street, a D.C. insiders’ guide to people, policy and influence peddling, recently published a guide to lobbyists. The highest paid lobbyists were former elected officials, with an average take of $178,000 a year, the next highest paid group was former staffers, with an average take of more than $144,000 a year. Both left the professional lobbyists far behind in their value to their clients.
In public, our corporate leaders use polite language describing themselves in glowing terms like “job creators.” Republicans wring their hands over regulations; Democrats weep crocodile tears over the plight of the middle class. Meanwhile the politicians feast at the public trough and prepare for lucrative payoffs, I mean careers, in the private sector.
Revolving door implies that these officials are somehow going back and forth between serving the public interest and the corporate interests that lobby them, pay for their campaigns if they’re elected, and then hire them when they’re ready to cash out.
But that’s not what’s happening.
The door doesn’t revolve, it only swings one way. And what’s happening to our government deserves much stronger language than the description of a door.
We have to face up to the fact that under our present system, election to public office, or appointment to key regulatory posts, is for the vast majority is the entryway into a world of legalized prostitution, where major corporations wield nearly absolute power over our government.
At WheresOurMoney.org we’ve proposed a constitutional amendment, 28A, to undo Citizens United, the awful U.S. Supreme Court ruling that unleashes even more unrestricted and unreported corporate money into our political system. That won’t curb lobbying. But rallying around the reversal of Citizens United will focus attention on the culture of legalized corruption that has overtaken our government.