HIGHTOWER: Political Bribery: The American Way?

Thank God for Bill Moyers.While the media establishment has been riveted on the White House sex scandal, Moyers recently broadcast a dynamite PBS documentary called, "Washington's Other Scandal." Produced by the fine, populist filmmaker Sherry Jones, this TV special shows political leaders of both parties openly whoring for campaign dollars.For example, Moyers and Jones got their hands on videotapes of some of those infamous coffees held by Bill Clinton. At one of the coffee klatches, a Puerto Rican developer named Ruben Velez was caught on tape trying to hand an envelope full of checks to Don Fowler, then the Democratic Party chairman. Velez needed White House help to get a deal done. Fowler did not accept the money there, but arranged to do it after the event. Here's the quick exchange between the two:Velez: "I have five checks here for you."Fowler: "As soon as this thing is over, I'll call you and we'll get it done."In a later interview, Moyers probed Fowler on the significance of his exchange with Velez:Moyers: "If Ruben Velez had been a shopkeeper from San Juan, would he have been at that coffee?"Fowler: "If he'd have been a shopkeeper, probably no."Moyers: "People with money should not be able to buy more democracy than people without money."Fowler: "But they do, and we all know it.""Washington's Other Scandal" also shows tape of Republican leader Trent Lott selling-out our democracy to his Fat Cat contributors. Each of them had given $100,000 or more to spend three days meeting privately with Lott and other key GOP leaders; discussing legislative favors. Asked by a reporter if the contributors should be allowed to keep buying legislative access, Lott said: "I think for them to have the opportunity to do that is the American way."This is Jim Hightower saying ... Yeah, Trent -- the American way of bribery. To help stop it, call Public Campaign: 202-293-0222.

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