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The White House Has a Bribery Problem

February 20, 2010

Bribery scandals have plagued our government from time to time.  In the 1920’s the Teapot Dome Scandal rocked the nation.  Oilman Harry Sinclair was given the drilling rights in Teapot Dome Wyoming and Edward Doheny in Elk Hills California after they showered the Secretary of the Interior with nearly $400,000 in cash and gifts.  In the 1980’s, 1 Senator and 5 members of the House were convicted of bribery when undercover FBI agents set up the sting operation known as ABSCAM.

But the calendar has turned to a new century and government bribery had taken on a entirely different turn; rather than the government officials taking the bribes, it is the government itself making the bribes.  President Obama has decided that his agenda is much more important than it is popular, so he has resorted to bribing sitting members of Congress in his own party in order to get legislation his way.

When Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska (D) was holding out his support for Obama’s Healthcare Reform Act, he was offered the “Cornhusker Kickback”, which exempted the state of Nebraska from any additional costs mandated from the bill; to the tune of $100 Million.

Not to be outdone, Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase”  secured her state $300 Million in pork-barrel spending and kickbacks to her state in exchange for her support of Obama’s struggling  Healthcare Reform Act.

And it is not just Congress on the receiving end of these bribes.  AARP, the AMA, the Unions,  the Pharmaceutical and Medical Insurance industry all have received their carve outs in exchange for their support of the President’s Healthcare Bill.

This week another bribe was revealed.  Rep. Joe Sestak (D, PA) was offered a cushy government job (Secretary of the Navy, which would be a huge enticement for a man who was a US Naval Academy grad and had a 30 year Naval career) in exchange for dropping his primary challenge to Arlen Specter (both are vying to challenge Pat Toomey in the PA Senate race this fall).  Sestak passed on the offer and trails Specter in the polls.

While is was nice to see that at least one Democrat (Sestak) had the decency to pass on the White House’s bribery attempt, it is disturbing to see the President’s modus operandi.  Rather than working with members of both parties in order to craft legislation that an overwhelming majority of Congress and the American people can support, the President has decided to bribe, bully and belittle anyone who disagrees with him.  Change has come to Washington DC and it is ending up in the pocket of those in power.  Shameful.

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