Washington…District of Corruption

The New Republic published an op-ed piece by columnist Norman Ornstein  on the expansion of dubious lobbying in Washington, D.C.

How Washington’s new riches destroyed Tom Daschle

by Norman OrnsteinThe New Republic, February 4, 2009

“Washington, D.C., is now filled with lobbyists making six-figure salaries. The desire for members of Congress and staffers to please such influential lobbyists has contributed to what has become a culture of corruption, entangling even many honest, hard-working people. The Obama administration should continue to bring sweeping ethics reform, realizing that there will be casualties along the way.

So Damn Much Money is the title of Bob Kaiser’s penetrating book on the explosion of lobbying and corruption in Washington over the past quarter century. Kaiser is right, and so is Barack Obama in his attempt to attenuate the corrosive links between lobbying and government–even with the hiccup created by Tom Daschle’s withdrawal.

In over 39 years in Washington, I have seen the city transformed from a sterile national capital akin to Canberra or Brasilia into a social, cultural, culinary, and economic metropolis that can (almost) compete with London and Paris. In 1969, when I arrived here, there was limited regional theater, the Smithsonian museums, and a literal handful of ‘exotic’ restaurants (the most exotic of which was a Cuban dive called the Omega). Fancy clothing was the purview of Raleigh’s, where Hickey-Freeman was as hip as it got.”

Read full story.


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