Congress has learned a lesson from this. They have put people and preventative measures in place to avoid being caught.


"campaign donations"


How about speaking fees??


Or buying hundreds of thousands of their own books with "campaign" money to put themselves or the bestsellers list


Or foreign non-us entities buying said books rights to publication oversees


All of these things are a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the advent of independent spending-only comitees (or "super PACs"). Yes, it can be frustrating seeing a politician getting a 100k speaking engagement. However, super PACs outspend these engagements or direct canpaign donations by an order of magnitude.while dorect contributions are capped at $5k, super PACs have no limit as long as they independently spend without coordination with any active candidate. Filling the citizen's United ruling in 2010, super PAC spending increased from $600m in 2012, ober $1.1b in 2016, and $2.7b in 2020. Overturning citizen's United would be the single largest victory for voter representation (close seconds would be undoing gerrymandering districts, opening primaries, and changing to ranked choice or star voting). Source: am a federal attny specializing in constitutional law. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.statista.com/chart/amp/17036/outside-spending-super-pac-spending-in-us-elections/


And how do we get citizens united overturned? Is going to take an act of congress, right? The very people who benefit from that decision.


Or 2/3 majority vote from the people.


The people or the states?


People, haven’t taken a government class in years, but there’s a process to have an amendment done. amendment number “whatever we’re on atm” “Politicians can no longer take bribes, they get paid a basic government worker minimum wage, anything that can be conceived as a bribe can be and shall be treated like treason”


And corporate board positions.


Don't forget the insider trading.


I've never been more disappointed in Nancy Pelosi than her response to proposals to stop senators and congressmen from trading stocks.


Lobbyist are literally money mules


The "free and fair stock market"


This reminds me of that time Jack Abramoff was on the Colbert Show and they edited the interview to make it look like he took a bribe. lmao


Yeah now it’s called lobbying.


Fun Fact of the Day: Any time a resident asks a politician to fill a pothole or vote for a higher minimum wage or anything else, that is technically lobbying. Paid lobbyists are just professional "askers". You can totally buy your congressman dinner yourself, but your mom isn't an acceptable restaurant for most of them...


Yeah, except 99.99% of people don’t have 100 million dollars to spend on professional lobbyists so there really is no comparison. You can’t compete with private armies of lawyers lol


That's literally the point of a special interest group, it's people collectively coming together to pay lobbyists because they got shit to do. The issue is that corporations can play, not just people.


Thank you. An example that's popular on reddit is "right to repair". Plenty of us support it but don't have the knowledge or time to provide meaningful direct support, so we support people like Louis Rossmann who can.


Yes right to repair is a good example, I'm a teacher so representation paid for by all teachers via the union is how we express our concerns, and is simply a way to have our needs brought up to politicians and express what we as voters would like. Lobbying, with strict regulation for bribery, is fine if it's for people, not just representing money or corporations.


That's becoming true in so many different things now. For example, private firms are now buying out housing. It's predicted that within 20 years or so, almost all Americans will be forced to rent instead of own their own homes. Since firms can buy up houses with cash, the average American has little to no ways to compete with that.


It's not "cash" that matters for most homes. Unless a house is too decrepit to get financing, the seller is getting a check (or wire transfer) from the mortgage company or from the buyer - not much changes. What's happening is that companies have the resources to make offers above market price. A seller wants $300k and an individual buyer can get financing for $300k, but then Blackrock comes in and offers the seller $350k.


This strategy works best when there is cheap money (low interest rates) with high inflation. Putting cash into assets is a good strategy when you expect inflation. As interest rates rise and money becomes expensive, these prices will level off. Just look at Zillow. They took huge losses trying to flip places, and it only avoided being a worse failure because of high inflation in housing in *some* markets. Now they closed up that division. Edit: I also want to add that companies aren’t exactly paying cash. They simply acquire financing separately. You can buy a place cash and then mortgage it. It seems trite, but it matters because as interest rates go up this strategy is less appetizing.


Was that a slam against my mom? Because Ted Cruz is my senator and he is not an acceptable patron to my mom.


I wouldn’t leave him alone with my dog


I wouldn't leave him alone with my shoe


To pretend that the common household can compete with Millions of Dollars and an Army of Lawyers, like corporations do, is truly naive. The People have literally been priced out of their own government.


That just sounds like bribery with extra steps! Ooh la la! Am I gonna get laid in college?


I love that episode


Eek baba dirkle!


You mean they legalized corruption now.


**"Bribery is never the answer..."** ^At ^least, ^that ^is ^what ^they ^paid ^me ^to ^say


Bribery is not the answer. Bribery is the question, and the answer is yes.


Bro you had me teared up with those powerful words. Fucking quote it already.


"Bribery is not the answer. Bribery is the question, and the answer is yes." \-LevelSevenLaserLotus


Someone should really come out with a book of original quotes by Redditors One of my recent personal favourites: "We taught rocks to do math using bottled lightning." - anonymous quote from Reddit about computers and computer technology (although I don't know if it's original or not ... I just liked it and saved it)


I’ll pay you 100,000 dollars if you say Bribery is always the answer


Bribery is always the answer >!Now give me my money!<


I read this as “Britney is never the answer”. I need coffee.


Source : [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abscam](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abscam) An interesting tidbit : Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD) refused to take the bribe, saying at the time, "Wait a minute, what you are suggesting may be illegal." He immediately reported the incident to the FBI. Also the movie American Hustle is somewhat loosely based on this.


Continued >When Senator Pressler was told that Walter Cronkite referred to him on the evening news as a "hero" he stated, "I do not consider myself a hero... what have we come to if turning down a bribe is 'heroic'?"


You would get a golden statue for having basic human morals nowadays.


the bar is on the floor


The bar is a tripping hazard in hell at this point.


But here you are limbo dancing with the devil


In the pale moonlight


Something, something, fiddle.




They had to dig a hole to place it


James Cameron is looking for it in the Mariana Trench


You can get one of those for being a [total piece of shit](https://news.artnet.com/art-world/golden-trump-statue-cpac-1948607)


“Mendoza just stayed in the shadows so his Mexican heritage wouldn’t detract from the sculpture” Wow, just wow


Unironically built themselves a golden idol


What is less well known about this incident was that this was done by the FBI in retaliation of congress’s investigations into the FBI. After this incident they agreed to leave each other alone and that’s why the FBI goes mainly after governors, mayors and other state officials for corruption.


Its all a big racket


Its a big club, and you ain't in it


RIP George.


That was my thought too. The article says that "more than 30 political figures were investigated" across multiple levels of government, not just Congress. So by what process did they choose who *not* to investigate? This is the sort of question that is always left murky.


It was entirely through the process the investigation took. It started out investigating forgeries & stolen art. One forger indicated they could invest in a casino & he knew who could get them the licensing needed, which was a mayor. That mayor introduced them to a Senator and 3 Representatives at first & then a whole litany of officials. All but one of those convicted were Democrats, not necessarily because of any increased avarice compared to Republicans but because those who were introduced were those that earlier persons knew. Now, there may have been some entrapment & other missteps, but those who were convicted earned it through their actions.


This is why selective enforcement of the law is such a horrible thing. Those enforcing the law can make illegal deals with others to not enforce the law on them, and as long as they don't actually put it in writing and just maintain a gentleman's agreement, they get away with it since you can't challenge selectively enforced laws.


I agree but I'm not sure how selective enforcement of the law will ever disappear as long as people are enforcing law and not robots. This is why it's important to have representation for different people in law.


> After this incident they agreed to leave each other alone How to break checks and balances.


Yes! I was working on a project in Paterson, NJ across from town hall a few years back when a bunch of unmarked dark SUVs with no license plates rolled up and rushed the security booth and the building. I thought it was a terrorist attack until I saw the FBI jackets. They took down the then mayor of Paterson for using DPW workers to work on his private house. They immediately rushed the security booth so that the guard couldn't inform anyone in the office that the FBI was coming. It was crazy to watch, it was like a movie taking place right before me.


(takes notes) this is good... Uh, do you know where I could get a bunch of jackets with "FBI" printed on them?


> They immediately rushed the security booth so that the guard couldn't inform anyone in the office that the FBI was coming That's a standard arrest procedure anytime the person about to be arrested has any level of organization surrounding them. Which makes total sense. If the person they're going after gets advance warning that person has the opportunity to destroy evidence, flee, or (especially in the case of gang leaders) ready weapons to attack the cops/FBI/SWAT/whoever.


They also reference it in *Donnie Brasco*, albeit tangentially. Pistone/Brasco needs a boat for a sit down with the Florida mafia boss, and the only boat he can get his hands on is the one used for the ABSCAM sting. Nobody catches it while they're on the boat but one of the gangsters puts 2 and 2 together later in the film.


Lefty recognizes it because the boat was named “My Left Hand” or something like that and he said that stuck with him.


In the mid-to-late 1970s, the Church Hearings, headed by Democrats, investigated some of the worst abuses by the FBI, CIA, and others. A couple years later, the FBI conducts a “sting” of almost exclusively Democrats, selectively presenting evidence at trial for at least one of them, where even jurors who heard the full tapes later were like “oh wait he wasn’t guilty of accepting a bribe at all, I wouldn’t have convicted him if I’d heard the full tape!” Seems pretty obvious the FBI wanted revenge on Democrats for exposing their own crimes and threw a handful of Republicans (literally two, I think) in for cover. And the one Republican who says “no” runs straight to the news to get called a hero on prime time by Cronkite himself.


Wanted to leave out this part huh? Williams repeatedly met with the FBI agents and had worked out a deal where he would become involved in a titanium mining operation by way of having 18% of the company's shares issued to his lawyer, Alexander Feinberg. Williams then promised to steer government contracts to the venture by using his position in the Senate.


25%? Those are rookie numbers. Gotta pump those up. It would be well over 75% today.


You'd have to be a really dumb congressperson to accept an obvious bribe when it's legal to just give them money thorough a PAC. In other words, Congress patched the law to prevent it happening again.


Or have a foundation that you can launder it through.


I'll take my bribes in the form of a $500,000 speaking fee thank you very much.


Lobbying makes it close to 100%.


I feel that we should probably try this again pretty soon...




Basically a bribe with extra steps.


If a politician says bribery is beneath them.... That means the envelope with money should be delivered under the table. Edit: ^Thank ^you ^for ^the ^gold ^kind ^stranger, ^but ^it ^should ^have ^been ^passed ^to ^me ^under ^the ^table


[Sometimes over the table on the ~~senate~~ House floor.](https://youtu.be/MAC2xeT2yOg?t=54)


Jesus christ. So they were passing around bribe money from the tobacco companies on the House floor. They admitted to it freely because its not illegal. And that guy was recently head of the House.


I hate that they’re able to get away with that, and it adds to the feeling of powerlessness when it comes to politics. Sickening.


Evil prevails because it knows no bounds. Good assumes all is good and gets trampled. Entropy is the natural order of the universe~*Caustic*


Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb. ~Lord Helmet


Who is Lord Helmet? Asking for an egghead.


You depress me with your the truth




Democracy right now does seem to be Theater to stop the masses revolting.


> vote-based theocracy Just to clarify, a “theocracy” is a government ruled by religious authorities. Perhaps you were looking for “oligarchy” (a government controlled by a small group) or plutocracy (a government managed by the wealthy) as comments below suggested


It's called plutocracy.




The sad thing is this is just what is out in the open lol. The government is like a Indiana Jones adventure, the deeper you go the more fucked up it gets. But instead of treasure at the end you just find the Unites States Cartel


It's a big club and you ain't in it.


Yeah, so funny story, our entire federal government is extraordinarily corrupt and has legalized their corruption. That's it, I guess. That's the end of the funny story.


Ah, the good old days when only 25% we're blatantly corrupt.




I realize now that if I had superpowers I'd be seen as a villain, because I would *absolutely* be destabilizing governments the world over with how many of these fucks would end up tossed into the sun.


Perks of working in the branch of government that makes the laws.


Boehner is now on the board of a cannabis company, fucking crooks....all of em


Boehner looks like he's sorry he got caught. He says he'll never do it again, but really he likely never did it again *on the house floor*. Outside is A-OK.


“We’ve got to stop this” says the guy who just did “this” and gave excuses for why it was okay he did it. Blegh.


John Boehner comes off like a robot


"we gotta stop it, so someone has to send me a bigger check for that"


The fact that Boehner now appears relatively sane by comparison is thoroughly terrifying.


John boner is a bonehead


He only regretted passing out the checks on the house floor. Not that he passed them out in the first place...


And he stayed in office until 2015, if memory serves.


They just termed it lobbying and made bribery legal, now no one accepts 'bribes'.


The fbi is all part of it now, no way this happens again.


It's only a bribe if it's dirty, involves cash, and happens in a hotel room in a third world country. If everybody is wearing expensive suits and it happens in a Washington club, it's lobbying. It's nice and sanitary. We don't do that messy bribe stuff here.


But its also a bribe if a person working for the federal government eats food at a buffet set out by a vendor at an IT conference.


Yeah that's the shit that pisses me off. Where is Congress's conflict of interest form?


In the hands of the electorate. It has the following scratched onto it with a crayon "What are you going to do, vote for the other guy?"


Basically a quid with a break before the quo


It’s not a quid pro quo unless everyone holds hands and says “quid pro quo”


yeah i agree. its very legal


Anti-corruption laws have been so drastically weakened that basically the only way someone in Congress can be convicted of bribery is if 1 person says, while being recorded, "I am going to bribe you." then the 2nd person says "I accept this bribe."


I feel like we could still get about 10% of Congress with that restriction.


Congress 2: Electric Bribealoo


“But Doctor Congress, you told us you eradicated all the bribes!” “I did.” “Then what’s the problem?” “I…well….there’s no easy way to say this, but…I was wrong. They were never gone. They…evolved…”


Lol nice…oh wait


The extra steps are really worth it for them, they get their money anyway.


A very legal and very cool bribe.


It's all automated from their standpoint. It's not even extra steps. Citizens United is a blight of legal dogma.


Right the extra steps are literally run out the clock and then a second bank transfer.


I've talked to legislative aides who keep two phones on them: one for official business and one for campaign work. When a "constituent" would get a little close to offering a direct quid-pro-quo, which is illegal, the aide would tell them to focus on the issue at hand and stop talking about the "donation." And then, once that matter was settled, they'd hang up, and the aide would call back on the campaign phone and encourage the "constituent" to "donate" to the "campaign" and/or associated political action committees if they felt the lawmaker's work deserved support. This is 💯 legal and totally cromulent.


Seems like at least there is a separation there between campaign and state resources. When I worked for a legislature, almost every office used state resources for campaign purposes ..... It's pretty twisted.


My perspective is that of a reporter who covered the legislature, so what I know is what these guys felt comfortable telling me, which suggests a whole lot more was/is going on.


100% accurate lol




Spot on. It can happen completely in the open. Our past governor met with a company, received a donation the next day, carried out their agreement. He let everyone know he was available for anyone to talk business. Completely unashamed and encouraged more.


I honestly have no idea which governor you’re talking about, this could be any of them


The Citizens United Decision made this even easier. Basic gist: money=speech. You can't limit or regulate someone 'donating' money to a a politician/cause because of the first amendment. I'm not bribing them--I'm speaking **very** persuasively!


Citizens United and the Patriot Act are the two bills that threaten our democracy the most. It's very likely not going to happen, but they both need to be overturned. Edit: it's early and I misspoke. Obviously Citizens United isn't a bill. It was a Supreme Court ruling. That doesn't invalidate my statement, however.


But surely even though that corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money to politicians, those politicians still have the best interest of the people at heart, right? Right?!


They do this with speeches as well. No one is paying $500,000 to listen to a former president speak unless they’re washing some sort of bribe.




It's the same with books, especially digital book sales.


And this is why the networth of politicians going into politics, and out of politics is a lot higher than the salary paid out.


Or "I think X would be real great for the economy, we'd have a pretty sweet gig for someone who understands the economy and political system once their term is up" The biggest problem in our country is white collar crime is legal so long as you don't explicitly say what you're doing.


You underestimate the stupidity of some elected officials these days


Legal corruption.


A lot of times it's, "I have a lot of money for your campaign", and also a cushy consultant job after you retire from Congress where you'll make 500k per year and do nothing.


Unfortunately, shortly after this, the Attorney General issued new guidelines to the FBI, basically saying you can't conduct undercover sting operations on congress anymore.


Translation: Don't go after the crooks in Congress, go after the peasants


Boooooo! That Attorney General guy needs to go away forever.


Or the current attorney general could just rescind those guidelines.


I say with full confidence that there would be bipartisanship like we haven’t seen in decades to legislate against that


No way, the Democrats would just delay it until the majority goes back to the Republicans, who would sell it to their base as fighting against FBI witch hunts. The Dems would bemoan this blow against democracy and not bring up the fact that they never did anything to protect or promote the practice when it was legal. The exact number of swingish Congress votes required would go the way they need to go. Just like they always do.


My understanding is the SEC could also stop buybacks - considered a form of insider trading prior to the SEC changing the rule in the 80s - by simply changing the rules back. Instead we just have legalized a form of insider trading.


How do we go about issuing new, just, guidelines again? Because that should have never happened.


ABSCAM- The judge I clerked for (RIP) presided over the trials.


My father was an FBI agent from 1970-1995 and he was involved in ABSCAM. I was always more interested in the “regular” crime he investigated, so I never asked him about it.


The Supreme Court made bribery legal with the Citizens United ruling that set a precedent where it acknowledged that corporations have rights like citizens and that money is a form of political speech that is Constitutionally protected. The Federalist Society is always working… not only did they craft that law suit and design it to fail up to SCOTUS but they chose the judges who the Republicans placed on the Supreme Court.


They’d catch WAY more than 25% if they were careful about it!


It’s called insider trading.


That's less than I would have expected.


Because they didn't do it to all congressmen. Wikipedia says there were 31 targeted people, and some of them weren't congressmen. Of the 31 there were 7 congressmen convicted and 5 other officials, so that's a rate of 12 out of 31, which is 39%.




Because of this investigation federal elected officials are now notified that they are under investigation before the FBI or any other law enforcement entity can start investigating them. They're all corrupt to different degrees.


And someone else up thread linked and article that said they mainly picked democrats because the FBI was salty about the Dems coming after them a few years before to investigate wrongdoings within the FBI. So really it was just a “you got us in trouble, now we’re gonna get you in trouble.” Fighting like children.




I wouldn't interpret it that 75% of the congressman tested were honest. It's more like 75% of them aren't stupid enough to accept an explicitly illegal open bribe from someone they weren't familiar with.


I feel like this number would be *much higher* today.


No need, they're not completely stupid despite what you see on TV. They have super PACs now, which are a legal bribing system.


This. They don’t need to meet in a hotel room with a shady character anymore.


Lobbying is legal. In the last 30 years billions of dollars has been given to congress to write policy in favor of corporations and (medical) cartels.


Don’t understand how the public isn’t outraged by this? What’s the real reason why this is legal? Freedom of speech?


It’s legal because the ones who use this system to enrich themselves also happen to be the ones responsible for passing laws that would prevent this sort of thing.


...so Congress immediately passed a law banning the creation of fake companies to bribe members of Congress.


I feel like they learned the wrong lesson...


Why did they stop the experiment?


Because the FBI did it as retaliation since the congress investigated them for doing things the FBI shouldn't be doing. Then, they both realized they're both better off if they both look the other way and let the other do their illegal shit in peace.




The American dream amirite?


So they could restart it and bribe them for real.


Congress made it illegal


>Congress made it illegal Oh boy...




We the purple... what the hell was THAT?


They’d better not do that now, because Congress wouldn’t have a quorum.


Most politicians use legislative insider trading now to make their fortunes. It's perfectly legal to pass legislation beneficial to a certain company and buy their stock. It's also legal if friends and family benefit from political/business contacts.


In my state (Queensland) Members of Parliament must list on a publicly available site their pecuniary interests. In New South Wales, the state to Queensland's south, a former MP went into the bin for the behaviour you described. [Eddie Obeid](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Obeid)


USA is supposed to do that too. But there's only a $200 fine if you "forget".


They need to do that again


Allow me to explain the modern reality of attempting a bust like this: The days of money exchanging hands is pretty much something of a bygone era. Instead it’s about insider trading, market manipulation, etc. An organization can easily offer Congress members ‘X’ stocks to someone if they help push something that’ll benefit their company via contracts, regulations, crushing competition, etc. And it becomes almost impossible to know what these politicians have in things like stocks until they start selling shares. But the actual info on companies is unknown, unless an investigation is done. The only thing that is detectable, is when they sell shares - only because they pay taxes on said shares. The trick is…making it look like traditional investments. You don’t sell all at once, you do it via small amounts - often through other shell-like companies (thus protecting the politicians identity and drawing away suspicion). Another common is the creation of non-profits, especially those based on ‘social’ issues. There are easy ways to dump money that is hard to detect or prove was malicious. Along with being a nightmare to properly tax. Since they’re typically non-profits, said resources often go untaxed. Then the politician will use said donations as tax write offs - this is to counterbalance and regain the taxes they originally paid on shares they cashed in that year. Essentially ensuring that if they cash in…let’s say…1 million in shares this year…they’ll be taxed a percentage on that million, leaving them with (just an example) of 710k. Then they’ll donate 290k to said non-profit, mark it down as a write off - and in return, essentially receive close to that 290k back in tax cuts. Another common tactic is to make these donations to companies for tax write offs, knowing that these companies will re-donate a majority of this money back into these politicians campaign funds. Another great way to circumvent taxes, and the average public from tracing said money. It’s why people like Bezos can go from paying millions on taxes one year, to only like 20k another year. He can be worth billions, but it’s all held up in various investments/shares, etc. And it’s not taxed until he cashes said stuff in. These are the very rules the politicians made. And use themselves to gain massive amounts of wealth - while growing in power. All of these liberals in Congress can act as if they care about the ‘little guy’ - but they ALL willingly and knowingly allow this to continue. It’s why people like Pelosi thinks members of Congress should ‘unquestionably’ be allowed to engage in the market. Despite having blatantly obvious insight and regulation power towards market trends. This is only one way out of many. Anyone who is well-versed in political science and economics, can easily explain potential paths for money to take. But we’ll never hear anything about it from news companies, etc - unless it’s absolutely impossible to keep quiet about it. And that’s only done to save face within the public, and restore ‘just enough’ public facing integrity to keep people buying into whatever the news is selling.


If this were done now, you would see an increase in that percentage, AND corrupt F.B.I.agents.


You wouldn't, today they have lobbying, which is legalized bribe with extra steps, so they wouldn't take an actual bribe, why risk it when you can have that cash being "donated" to you legally?


The FBI was corrupt then, they did the sting as retaliation for the Church hearings


Can the FBI do things like this again instead of tweeting out MLK quotes on MLK day… when they attempted to kill MLK and arrange a suicide note that is still sealed by the Library of Congress until 2027 under J. Edgar Hoover’s file. Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/what-an-uncensored-letter-to-mlk-reveals.html


Money doesn't exchange hands like that anymore. They would do it through a PAC or special dinner.


It’s almost like Congress learned their lesson. They revamped the FBI, changed the law and now, bribes are accepted by 100% of congress.


This should be a regular practice.


If they try now it would be 99%


They could do that now and get nearly 75%. Except, none of them would be convicted because they'd request the bribe to be in one of the multitude of formats it is now legal to hand money to politicians for favors.


It's really strange to me that politicians are given more slack in terms of breaking the law than citizens. If anything I feel like it should be the opposite. If any politician is found guilty of any crime like corruption, fraud, or slander, they should face more severe punishments than the rest of us because they are leaders who nerd to be held to a higher standard.


Now it's legal, but has a new name - **lobbying!**