Not everything Donald Trump has to say should be swept under the rug; some things deserve to be heard. Many people might think he's a "bad guy", but he does know how politics work.
According to the Washington Post, Trump either sits on the board of — or holds executive positions in, more than 500 separate companies and partnerships. So he of all people would know how to manipulate and game the political system by buying off our politicians. And as a businessman, he's admitted to being a "part of that game".
Now that he's running for President of the United States, "The Donald" — without any need to beg for campaign donations — is boldly talking about that political corruption, and how it’s ruining our country.
Here is a short edited transcript (from the 2 minute video below) of Donald Trump's recent interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN from July 22, 2015:
TRUMP: "The politicians are going to destroy this country. They're weak and they're ineffective and they're controlled by the lobbyists and special interests...They will do whatever I want ... I've had lobbyists and I've had some very good ones. They could do anything. They could take a politician and have them jump off this ledge. "
COOPER: "Can you actually change that culture of corruption?"
TRUMP: "Well, you can in the sense that the top person can't be bought [indicating himself] ... but these lobbyists totally control these politicians ... I see Bush [Jeb] with the lobbyists ... they're totally telling him what to do, like a little puppet. And the same with Hillary and everybody else. Now, when I'm in business, I'm part of that game ... these guys are desperate for money. I don't need it."
Since running for President, is it possible that Trump is no longer a puppet master? And can lobbyists pull Jeb Bush's strings?
The New York Times has an article titled: "Jeb Bush Vows to Curb Lobbying and Trim Government". Oops! It turns out that Jeb Bush's speech denouncing lobbyists was organized by a corporate lobbying group.
Mother Jones also has a good article explaining why Jeb Bush's proposal of a six-year ban on ex-members of Congress going into the lobbying business should only be the floor of a reform plan, not the ceiling (because of too many loopholes as to what defines "lobbying" activities).
And lobbying should be restricted for military generals going to work for the defense industry as well.
In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton said: "Hugely successful companies that benefit from everything America has to offer should not be able to game the system and avoid paying their fair share — especially while companies who can’t afford high-price lawyers and lobbyists end up paying more."
But yet, Hillary Clinton’s campaign will accept political donations from lobbyists, although Politico reports: "Clinton is not expected to face off against any candidates who do not also accept donations from PACs and lobbyists." [Politico may never heard of Senator Bernie Sanders, unless they consider labor unions "lobbyists".] Whereas, Hillary relied on wealthy donors and lobbyists to pull together most of her money. And Hillary's campaign not only used lobbyists as bundlers, but her campaign treasurer works for a lobbyist, though is not registered as a lobbyist.
So we know who will be pulling Hillary's strings.
TRUMP: "When I called them they always treated me well. And that's part of the game. And that's part of what's wrong with this country. Because as a businessman I could have gotten anything from anybody. And that is part of the problem. Lobbyists, donors, special interests ... I have given millions ... They won't necessarily do what's right for the country. They'll do what's right for their special interests, their donors, their lobbyists, et cetera. Not what's good for the country."
COOPER: "So, you weren't giving money based on political beliefs, but you are giving money based on currying favor like in many people do."
TRUMP: "People [politicians] love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me."
CNN chief national correspondent John King joined Anderson Cooper for some analysis of Trump on the political game of lobbyists:
COOPER: "Although, John, he is both critical of the game but also says essentially I was playing the game. He at least kind of points out the discrepancy there. I mean, that's a conflict.
KING: Well, he points out one of the things that everybody hates about politics. Because the average Joe out there thinks big business or big rich people or big donors get together and get the meetings with the senator, they get the meetings with the White House staff, they get access to the president and the average Joe doesn't. So he is saying that is just the game. But then he is conceding he plays it."
Donald Trump is right: 427 former members of Congress have already become lobbyists. And we might expect a few of these 13 Democrats in the Senate and these 28 Democrats in the House who voted to fast-track the TPP trade agreement (which was written by lobbyists) to become lobbyists themselves when they too eventually leave office. That's just part of the political game: Learn the "ins and outs" of government functions and make lots of connections while in office, so after one leaves office they can go to work in the influence peddling industry.
A member of Congress who “retires” and becomes a lobbyist—a fairly common career move—can expect his or her pay to jump to at least $700,000 (for a representative) or $1 million (for a senator). As former Sen. Jim DeMint recently said, “Leaving the Senate to become president of the Heritage Foundation is a big promotion.” His salary sextupled to more than $1 million. That’s a heck of a promotion.
* Almost half the members of Congress are already millionaires, but as Slate noted: "For the remaining 52 percent, landing a K Street gig as a lobbyist is pay dirt." (Lobbyists on K St. paid like CEOs on Wall St.)
As surveys by the Congressional Management Foundation have revealed, many congressional staff are inexperienced newcomers. All too frequently, they don’t have the expertise or experience to understand the nuances of the agencies they’re overseeing, especially when compared with better-paid executive branch bureaucrats who’ve been around for decades. These young staffers are also up against the older, wiser versions of themselves who now work for special interests. There are just about as many registered lobbyists as congressional political staff on the Hill — about 13,000. With the huge reduction in congressional staff, lobbyists and think tanks often set the congressional agenda and are a major source of expertise about how government works. Congressional staff depart through the revolving door with alarming speed ... This is dangerous for our democracy.
According to TIME, so far at least 40 people have donated to both Hillary Clinton and one of her GOP rivals — calling these political favors friendships.
Here's another 2 minute video of House Speaker John Boehner actually admitting to being bribed by lobbyists. As Donald Trump says, "They will do whatever I want." — just as Boehner and Company did for the tobacco industry.