Corruption on Capitol Hill Illustrated By Jack Abramoff

It is obvious that the great majority of our citizens, regardless of political orientation don’t trust politicians.

Every time there is an election we obviously get the best government money can buy!

I have often noted that it is insane that our elected “representatives” are not made to live up to the standards established for civil servants and professional law enforcement officers! As a federal agent, I was not allowed to accept a cup of coffee while I acting in my official capacity! Could you imagine what would happen if a federal agent or a police officer approached his superiors and boasted about being the best “fund raiser” in the office? Yet that boast is often spewed by politicians who have come to believe that this is an incredible achievement! It has been said that “Power corrupts!” Make no mistake about it, so does money!

This past Sunday, November 6th the CBS News program, 60 Minutes did a truly good job of reporting on the corruption to be found on Capitol Hill that is clearly illustrated by the Jack Abramoff scandal.

I have attached a copy of the link to the broadcast and have copied the transcript of the program below. If you click on the link you will be able to watch the entire video of this important report.

60 Minutes also has a segment they refer to as “60 Minutes Overtime” in which they provide additional information about a story that appeared on the program.

Here is the link to the 60 Minutes Overtime segment that relates to the Abramoff report:

This is not a “bedtime story” and it will do absolutely nothing to restore you faith in our government- but it is absolutely vital that as many of our fellow citizens understand how the corruption in Washington compromises the democratic process and does so much damage to our nation!

To provide you with a bit of background from my perspective, I have been to Washington many times and not just to appear before Congressional hearings. I have, on occasion, gone to Washington to seek to speak with members of Congress or, at the very least, the staffers who generally act as the “gate keepers” who provide or deny access to the politicians. They remind me of the guy at the door of an exclusive club whose job is to decide on who gets to go in.

These staffers also act as “filters” deciding on what information is passed to the member of Congress who employs them and what information is summarily discarded!

There are times that these staffers are extremely difficult to speak with and I have often had the sense that if only I could speak directly with the member of Congress for whom some of these staffers worked, I might be able to convince that politician of the need to secure our nation’s borders and work to create an immigration system with real integrity.

Let me make one point as clear as I can, some of the staffers I encountered could not have been more courteous and professional. Today there are a number of such staffers including counsels and chiefs of staff with whom I have an excellent working relationship. These staffers not only are an asset to their bosses, they are an asset for our nation- enabling members of Congress to hear more than one side to an argument. This is how all of these staffers should do their jobs, to make certain that the system works as it should!

However, there are quite a few who I found to be surly and arrogant and even after a meeting with such folks, I truly wondered if they would even report back to the member of Congress for whom they worked that they had even had a meeting with me and others with whom I had gone to Washington in an effort to convince our politicians to make necessary changes. I often wondered if reports I had handed to these staffers would not be tossed in the “circular file” as soon as I left the office and headed down the corridor to my next meeting!

The staffers control so much and many of them are relatively young (often in their mid-twenties) and are clearly seeking to propel their careers into the stratosphere as quickly as possible! What is frustrating is that staffers who are grammatically challenged and can only conjugate verbs in the first person, singular, (not an unusual malady, especially in the “Halls of Power” in Washington), is that all too often they run interference for the Congressman for whom they work and do everything imaginable to insulate him (her) from folks who have legitimate issues and concerns. What is really infuriating is that no one elected these employees but they wield incredible power and influence by the nature of their jobs and the way that Washington works- or, in fact, does not work!

Please pay particular attention to the way that Abramoff managed to control these staffers- especially those at the top of the “food chain” in a Congressional member’s office!

The first step to solving problems is to identify the problem and then try to understand as much about the problem, in question, as possible.

Leslie Stahl should get an award for this report!

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

For far too long our citizens demonstrated apathy which emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups.

It is therefore understandable that the politicians of both parties, are greatly concerned about the demonstrations currently sweeping our nation just as did the creation of the Tea Party. Clearly more and more of our fellow Americans are demonstrating that they are not as dumb as the politicians from both parties had expected us to be!

I am encouraged that more and more of us, We the People, are not willing to simply sit on the sidelines anymore!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Jack Abramoff: The lobbyist’s playbook

Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the ‘911 Families for a Secure America.’ He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.