August 07, 2006

Wilkes Goes Down

New York Times has the story:
In 1992, Brent R. Wilkes rented a suite at the Hyatt Hotel a few blocks from the Capitol. In his briefcase was a stack of envelopes for a half-dozen congressmen, each packet containing up to $10,000 in checks...

Offering a rare insider’s view, Mr. Wilkes described the appropriations process as little more than a shakedown. He said that lobbyists close to the committee members unceasingly demanded campaign contributions from entrepreneurs like him. Mr. Wilkes and his associates have given more than $706,000 to federal campaigns since 1997, according to public records, and he said he had brought in more as a fund-raiser. Since 2000, Mr. Wilkes’s principal company has received about $100 million in federal contracts.

Mr. Wilkes described the system bluntly: “Lowery would always say, ‘It is a two-part deal,’ ” he recalled. “ ‘Jerry will make the request. Jerry will carry the vote. Jerry will have plenty of time for this. If you don’t want to make the contributions, chair the fund-raising event, you will get left behind.’ ”
E.J. Dionne suggests such stories and others indicate that Conservatism as a political force is now in rapid decline. True? Maybe, but not if more than half the USA doesn't even know what's going on. As Digby says:
The facts are the facts, but years of "tax and spend liberal" cant has been so internalized that even when the graft and corruption is right in plain sight, people won't belive it.


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