I found the book Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think by Ken Buck and figured it would a right-wing attack on liberal spendthrifts. It was that, but it was so much more.
Yes, Ken Buck is a Republican Congressman from Colorado and rather than just slamming the Democrats, he takes aim at the entire Washington machine. He pulls no punches in examining the waste inside the beltway. He also doesn’t limit his focus to just those across the aisle. He calls out Republicans as well.
Drain explains that the driving force of the swamp is fundraising and seniority. We are left with the impression that gridlock exists there because of the political divide. Rather, the gridlock exists because both sides work together to enrich themselves and maintain these systems. Even politicians who go to DC with great intentions are quickly educated that they much raise funds to get anything. If they want an important committee position, they must raise money. If they want to get anywhere they must raise money.
Raising money does not mean raising money for their campaigns. Instead, it means raising money for their political machine – the machine that hands out those positions and privileges. Speaker of the House is a perfect example.
We all think that the Speaker is elected by a majority of his/her peers – that is what they want us to think. Nancy Pelosi is simply the best fundraiser on the Democrat side. That is how she was elected. The same rules apply to the Senate and to either party. You bring in money, you get cushy posts. You bring in money, you get a boondoggle funding added to a bill for your district.
What happens to the money? It is spread among the pockets of “best earners” and distributed for campaigns in key battles. The money raised by a single congressperson may fund a race in another district/state. Each party spends the money strategically to fight the battle for majority in the House and Senate.
How do you get that money? You bring money to your state, district or any company where you have a connection. Sponsor a bill where company A gets a government contract for millions – get 100s of thousands – give that money to your party machine – get a committee position. Do it all again and earn a grant to a nonprofit in your district – another way to get money… get them a grant, they donate to you – the circle continues. You want votes for your pet project? It all just takes money.
Ken Buck pulls no punches in explaining why this system is so corrupt and why it needs to change. He doesn’t spare his own party at all. This is an excellent book that details the immoral, unethical and corrupt behavior of many of our elected politicians in Congress.
Yes, the second half of the book (written just as President Trump took office) gets a bit biased. He speaks about President Trump’s promise of draining the swamp and explains how he feels it can be done. That said, regardless of which political ideology you agree with, this book is something you should read. Then take what you learn and question your elected officials about their role in the system and ask them to propose and/or support legislation to clean up the mess.
by Chris Doelle