Taking Stock of Corrupt, Greedy Congress … Because It Won’t Do So for Itself
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Surge Summary: Congressional corruption continues and a recent bill which would have attempted to curtail it has shriveled away from inattention. Both sides of the political aisle are guilty – particularly obviously, soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
by Nathan Clark
I don’t know why I’m surprised that the US House dragged its feet on a reform bill to rein in the illicit practice of lawmakers being able to benefit from insider information and congressional ‘oversight’ of business sectors and companies they regulate, for financial gain through stock trading. Seventy-seven federal lawmakers have been identified recently who violated the STOCK Act of 2012 (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge), from both sides of the cell block…er, aisle (wishful thinking on my part).
This act was instituted to curtail the rampant practice of lawmakers benefitting financially from corporate inside information supposedly ‘necessary’ for them to carry out their regulatory duties, by trading stocks in the very companies they have the power to promote through federal funding and deregulation, or suppress through the same levers of government power. This has ALWAYS been a clear conflict of interest, and the rest of us go to jail for doing the same thing (Martha Stewart). This is one more filthy example of the insouciance of Congress making laws for the rest of us which either do not apply to them, or which they violate with shameless impunity.
Chief among the hypocrites is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who still decides what legislation gets to the floor for a vote. The Pelosi’s have benefitted exorbitantly from trading on Nancy’s nearly limitless access to key corporate and sector information. Their flaunting of these illicit windfalls has been documented repeatedly over the last ten years, yet the Pelosi’s have weathered no consequences other than thicker skins and thicker wallets. As Speaker, she is the most powerful person in the US government when it comes to decisions regarding which sectors will be regulated and to what degree, placing her at the pinnacle of advantage that would, again, send you or me to prison should we leverage that information for OUR benefit.
Is it any wonder that the bill prepared for addressing this egregious double standard languished away on Nancy’s desk until it died from inattention? Neither side of the aisle was willing to step up and really push or make a ruckus to get the matter addressed, which speaks volumes about the swamp being undrained and still loaded with all manner of slimy beasts growing grossly fat and arrogant while the rest of us are saddled with ‘ethical’ regulations they exempt themselves from. There is plenty of stench to go around from both parties.
The media used to be the watchdogs for this kind of stuff, but since they too have joined ranks with the swamp for their own profiteering, that role has become extinct. And so have they, as they no longer deliver any information without heavy bias motivated by profit.
I admit that I don’t have a civic answer to this problem, because everything has seemingly been tried (legislation, incarceration, demonstration, denunciation, efforts to dislodge incumbents via election & recalls) and nothing has been effective. If our current congress lacks the integrity to even attempt to pass this most obvious of ethics measures, where do we turn for redress?
Perhaps the mirror. If we didn’t accept this kind of festering moral rot as de rigueur, and demanded candidates with character and integrity, could we not find a better class of people to serve? If these integral problems in our government are too big to redress, then our government is too big, and needs liposuction. Like pop culture, government is a reflection of ourselves, art imitating life. It’s an unflattering portrait, to say the least. Dorian Gray would blush.