Two recent finds on the web indicated how widespread the current culture in D.C. has turned to representing private interests and not private citizens. For instance, the number of federal lobbyists in 2000 was 16,000 but by 2005 that number was 35,000. Ever since the courts decided, with no debate, to designate many of the rights of an individual, or corporate personhood, to a corporation, we have steadily increased the influence of business and erased the protections of individuals.
With 13 billion dollars being spent on lobbying between 1998 and 2005 and over 250 former congressional members or agency heads now employed as lobbyists, whose voice in America is loudest? The individual or the corporate person?
Cries of "your side is almost as bad as our side" in the current Abramoff scandal are at best a distraction. Even the National Review plainly states this issue is deeply damaging to the Republicans:
"It is true that any Washington influence peddler is going to spread cash and favors as widely as possible, and 210 members of Congress have received Abramoff-connected dollars. But this is, in its essence, a Republican scandal, and any attempt to portray it otherwise is a misdirection.
Abramoff is a Republican who worked closely with two of the country's most prominent conservative activists, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Top aides to the most important Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay (R., Tex.) were party to his sleazy schemes. The only people referred to directly in Abramoff's recent plea agreement are a Republican congressmen and two former Republican congressional aides. The GOP members can make a case that the scandal reflects more the way Washington works than the unique perfidy of their party, but even this is self-defeating, since Republicans run Washington."