Corruption in the US at the 21st Century

Transparency International (TI), the international community’s foremost corruption watchdog, compiles a global Corruption Perception Index every year wherein a variety of “yes-no” questions are posed to respondents from 180 different countries. The results are telling, and they lead to TI’s overall corruption rank for each state…

TI’s corruption barometer found that in Europe, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, political parties are perceived to be most conducive to corruption. In Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Western Balkans, suspicions lie with the civil service. And in North America, it is the parliament or legislature.

Most police officers in America do not require greased palms for their services. But if one wishes to attend a chicken cordon bleu dinner with Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, it will cost him $10,000 (fly fishing and camping in Big Sky Montana with the same gentleman only costs a quarter of that though). Congressman Joe Crowley’s company, however, may be purchased for a piffling $100, including karaoke—unless one wishes to buy in bulk and also attend a “VIP After Party,” in which case the bill rises to $1,000.

The going rate for lunch with Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas seems to be around $500, as is also the price for a savory “Taste of Michigan” luncheon with Congressman Bart Stupak. And for those who feel like splurging, a seat at the “Healthcare Community Dinner Honoring Pete Stark” will set one back a modest $2,500.

Charlie Palmer steaks and health-care talk with Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi and Richard Burr costs either $2,000 or $5,000, depending on one’s desired propinquity to the head of the table…

Has the $787,641 to Max Baucus’ coffers (and, to be fair, he is but one of 535) from the health professionals industry since 2005 played any role in his shaping health-care reform legislation? …

Such is also the case for conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the House, such as Mike Ross of Arkansas, who just days after voicing his criticism of the progressively minded health-care bills was wooed with extravagant fundraisers by health-care industry lobbyists. (The Blue Dogs received) 25 percent more in contributions from the health-care and insurance industries.”

Excerpted from Whatley, Stuart. 2009. “American Plutocracy.” The Huffington Post, July 31.

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