Hightower: Outlaw Corporate Bribes

Congressional Republicans -- what a hoot they are!They've been chattering and screeching like a tree full of monkeys, rightly outraged that Bill Clinton does governmental favors for big, corporate campaign donors.But -- shhhhh -- what these Republican monkeys don't want you to know is that they are doing the same thing. They've been running a "Governmental Favors Sale-a-Thon" on Capitol Hill.Sen. Al D'Amato, for example, might as well have a "Favors R Us" sign over his office door. the New York Republican chairs the banking committee, where he can affect legislation with the stroke of his pen. Now, guess who his biggest contributors are? [Bell] Bingo! Banks. MBNA, the huge issuer of bank credit cards, wanted Al to use his pen to wipe-out a consumer-protection law. Rather than write a policy paper for the Senator though, MBNA execs started writing checks to him -- $220,000 to his reelection campaign, $127,000 to the Senatorial Committee he chaired and $170,000 to his Republican State Committee. Sure enough, Sen. Quid-Pro-Quo D'Amato maneuvered MBNA's anticonsumer amendment right through his committee. When the New York Times asked MBNA about paying cash for legislation, the bankers squealed: "There is no connection. We support good government." Right . . . as long as government is good to you.Then there's, GOP Senate leader Trent Lott. The Wall Street Journal took a peek at one of Sen. Lott's political slush funds, which was filled with corporate checks. Four out of five of these corporations had identifiable favors that they wanted from Washington -- and Lott is helping deliver the favors. At least one of Lott's donors was honest, telling the Journal, "I give because I have an interest in how he votes ... It's self-interest."This is Jim Hightower saying ... We won't get "good government" until we outlaw these corporate bribes.

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