Saturday, July 03, 2021

The Constitution Was Engineered To Prevent Political Corruption And Has Utterly Failed...,

nakedcapitalism |  A final example from everybody’s favorite obstructionist Democrat, Joe Lieberman Joe Manchin. From Ryan Grim:

On Monday, Joe Manchin met with a group of wealthy donors to coordinate a strategy to defend the filibuster. The biggest threat to it, he argued, was Republicans’ refusal to support a January 6th commission, because it made anybody who claimed bipartisanship is still possible look like a buffoon, with people saying to him, “How’s that bipartisan working for you now, Joe?”

The obvious solution, then, he argued, is to find a handful of Republicans who will switch their votes and support a commission. A key target, he said, is Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. His suggestion was extraordinary for how explicit it made the link between legislative behavior and the pursuit of post-career riches.

“Roy Blunt is a great, just a good friend of mine, a great guy,” Manchin said in audio The Intercept obtained. “Roy is retiring. If some of you all who might be working with Roy in his next life could tell him, that’d be nice and it’d help our country. That would be very good to get him to change his vote. And we’re going to have another vote on this thing. That’ll give me one more shot at it.”

Forget it, Jake. It’s K Street.

Looking back at Article I, Section 8, there’s a loophole you could drive a trump: It really ought to read “accept any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” (I thought it was simpler to generalize it, rather than attempt to parse out all the kinds of private entities that might seek to curry favor with the government.) I doubt that would stamp out gift-giving entirely, but it would sure put a crimp in the culture. The same should be written into the bylaws of professional associations (which I assume would cover institutions like CalPERS, a fine example of the culture of gift-giving; see NC here at “junket“).

If the Framers had access to a Time Machine, and could fast-forward to the present day, they would see a culture, and a political culture, that had become — at least with respect to corruption — everything they sought to avoid, and tried to engineer the Constitution to prevent.