When Will We Outlaw Corporate, Foreign and Institutional Bribery In This Country?
This title speaks for itself.

by Jody Tallal - 2007

Webster defines "bribing"' as "To corrupt or gain influence over by means of a bribe." It defines "bribe" as "Something, as money, offered or given to influence a person to act dishonestly". While in the dictionary, I decided to look up the meaning of Political Contribution, which is really two words that have to be defined separately. Political is defined as "1. Of or concerning the structure or affairs of government. 2. Of or concerning politics, political parties, or politicians". Contribution is defined as “1. To act as a determining factor".

Our fore-fathers carefully drafted a system of government with significant safeguards carefully engineered to prevent abuse. One of them was that voters would elect officials to represent their interests at all levels of government. This starts with the President, Senators and Congressman - all the way down to the lowest forms of government at the municipal level. Simply put, this means when we elect an official to represent us they have a fiduciary duty to do so over their own personal interests. To do differently is a crime.

Unfortunately, this concept has become grossly distorted over the last half century and our elected officials are representing anyone who will contribute enough in political contributions to their or their party's campaigns. This means special interest groups, multi-national corporations and even foreign governments are receiving special treatment as a direct result of their political campaign contributions.

When someone contributes money to a campaign with the expectation of receiving special favors, this is bribery - plain and simple! If accepted, this is a criminal offense for both the contributor and the receiver. Yet this is happening everyday in Washington and thought-out the nation with absolute impunity. Laws are put on the books to the disadvantage of the citizens officials are elected to represent everyday to benefit special interests instead.

A good example was the recent changes Congress made to the nation's bankruptcy laws. They took away the provision which allowed a person who became so far in to debt they needed to declare a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to get that debt discharged. As a result of this new law, which went into effect in October 2005, a person now has to go through a 5 year period being a “Debtor in Possession”. This is a period where their income is controlled by a bankruptcy trustee and paid to creditors, after which, whatever is left is finally discharged.

The question is which American citizen did this law help? Which taxpayers, who elected every member of Congress, was the beneficiaries? The answer is there are none.

Who benefited from this law was the banking industry, more specifically their unsecured credit card divisions. This is the same group that starts sending out credit cards to kids as soon as they turn 18, then starts a constant barrage of unrequested solicitations attempting to give them more cards, expand their lines of credit, use free checks to transfer other credit card balances, etc.

Their goal is to get a person so far in debt that their monthly interest payment exceeds their annual disposable income. When they succeeded and this unfortunately did occur to someone in the past, our system had a safeguard call bankruptcy. This is where one is required to turn over all of their assets (except some predefined necessities) to be divided among their creditors and they are given a fresh start.

The recent change in the bankruptcy laws took away this important safeguard. It now requires when a person reached such a state of indebtedness that they have to become a "Debtor in Possession" of the bankruptcy court for a 5 year period, while their income is carefully distributed, providing them enough to survive, with the rest going to the creditors. Even a leech drops off it victim when they die, but now this is not true of the banks.

So again I ask, who did this particular legislation benefit? Which registered voter? The simple answer as previously stated is none!

It occurred because institutions, who are not registered voters, contributed vast sums of money to some many of our members in Congress that they were able to assert their will to become the law of our land. If this is not bribery, I don't know what is.

Unfortunately, this is just one of hundreds of examples that have become the normal method of business in the drafting of almost every piece of legislation now coming out of Congress. And it is blatant bribery - a criminal act that goes unpunished because all of our elected officials are doing it.

So what is the solution? I would like to propose one very simple one. This entire problem can be solved with a couple of sentences of law. All it has to say is that it is a criminal act to give or recieve any money from anyone that is not a registered voter in your district. End of story!

No more special interest lobbies trying to get a Senator is some other state removed because of its national agenda. No more foreign governments or multi-national corporations buying legislation to their advantage and our direct disadvantage. Let them keep those dollars to enhance their balance sheets instead of stealing from us to do so.

The critics say this can not be done because it cost too much to get elected to office in this country. I have two things to say to that. First, if all politicians could only get money under the current levels of legal contributions from voters they wish to represent, they would all be on a level playing field. If political parties and special inertest groups could not collect money in national campaigns to grossly distort a local election, our local elections would produce people who better represent our local interests and needs.

What about the high cost of media advertising today? How would they be able to pay for it? The answer is very simple, it only cost a fraction to advertise locally over the cost nationally .

Additionally, who owns the airwaves anyway? The American people do! Congress has leased them to major corporations who sell that time for huge profits, but the airwaves are still owned by the American people.

Why can't Congress establish a national channel purely for political campaigning? Those who are interested in the issues could watch debates and ads which are localized to the issues in their upcoming elections. We could also easily create a fee to lease the airwaves of a mandatory percentage of time to be designated for free political ads for upcoming elections.

If you take the money out of the political campaign system, laws in this country will once again reflect what Congress is suppose to be doing, representing their constitutes interests. How hard is this to do since the future of our country is at stake?