Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Unlikely Reformer

Infamous former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who went to prison for 43 months for practices that earned him the title of America’s most notorious lobbyist, is now working to reform the practices that made him immensely wealthy and influential. In an interview at City & State, he says of today’s lobbying enterprise:
I think the system is corrupt in a very refined way. It’s not crudely corrupt like it used to be where it was not at all a bother to anyone that someone would walk into an office such as Lyndon Johnson’s when he was the Senate Majority Leader and hand him a sack of cash. That was the old days. Now it’s much more refined and more polite, but it’s certainly corrupt. So the system is corrupt, but I don’t think the people view themselves as corrupt. I didn’t view myself as doing anything wrong in that respect and that’s the problem; that it’s commonplace to engage in, in essence, bribery because no one is trained to think of it as bribery. And so I think most people in the system are good people but they are in a system that itself in its core is corrupt and certainly many, many, many take full advantage within the boundaries of the law and some, like I, go over the law, over the boundaries. It’s not necessary to go over the boundaries, but even within those boundaries there’s tremendous capacity for corruption and for acting despicably.
The rest of this fascinating interview is here.

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