What corrupts politics and politicians in the political puppet show? The case of Jack Abramoff
By Marica Micallef
One of the best examples of this gift-giving in exchange for favours is Jack Abramoff, who would give Congressmen free meals and flights on private jets.
Jack Abramoff, described as the most crooked of lobbyists of all times, was eventually apprehended and sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and corruption. But it was too late because he had already demonstrated one trick to the entire lobbying sector: the trickle strategy, which he so persuasively described as follows:
“The moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to them, that was it. WE OWNED THEM. And what does that mean? Every request from our office, every request of our clients, EVERYTHING THAT WE WANT they’re gonna do. And not only that. THEY ARE GOING TO THINK OF THINGS WE CAN’T THINK OF.”
This tactic is called “The Revolving Door” and in America, it looks like this:
50% of the 115th Congress’ departing members started working for lobbying firms. The 114th Congress experienced the same thing, with 70% of its members joining lobbying firms. The 112th and 113th Congresses are exactly the same, and it should be noted that there are over 12,000 active registered lobbyists in Washington, with about 460 of them being former members of Congress who have joined frequently the same businesses that paid them while they were in office. This was Jack Abramoff’s strategy: give them anything, even a job, in exchange for their compliance with his demands. That implied that any businesses that hired Jack had total control over congressmen.
Why then do they quit their jobs to work as lobbyists? Well, they essentially receive a pay raise of 1452% when they do this. So they start at $172,000 and work their way up to $2.5 million annually. Even more may be the case.