“Public servants” cash in

I’m sure most of you have thought about why so many elected officials have a net worth that is far above the average American citizen. Their annual salaries aren’t overly large when you consider the cost of living in Washington DC and travel and other expenses. I imagine that some of you have a suspicion why that is.

Take Bernie Sanders. He has been a public office holder for most of his life, yet he is a millionaire. Then there is Joe Biden, who has also been in public office for decades. How about Bill and Hillary Clinton, or Barack and Michelle Obama. The answer is that wealthy donors and lobbyists find ways to enrich our public officials if they vote in a particular way, or write favorable executive orders, or issue “desirable” pardons.

Of course, there are public officials in both parties who engage in corrupt behavior to enrich themselves and their family members. Having read about it, I can’t see how it can be stopped. The corruption exists from the top to the bottom of our Federal government.  From Schweizer’s previous book, Secret Empires:

Many D.C. lobbying firms spend lavishly on politicians’ family members. Back in 2012, the Washington Post reported that “more than 500 firms have spent more than $400 million on lobbying teams that include the relatives of members [of the House and Senate].”

Many elected officials see public office as a business enterprise, with family members orbiting around them, positioned to strike lucrative deals with foreign and American entities eager to curry favor from the powerful. In this charade of public service, bloodlines grow wealthy at the expense of public policy and the American public takes a backseat to the highest bidder.

There are many stories Schweizer tells about how family and friends have benefitted from their relationships with Congressmen, Senators and Presidents.

There is a long and enlightening story about Barack Obama’s special friend from Chicago, Marty Nesbitt, and how he profitted financially because of his special relationship with the President. Nesbitt is so close to the Obamas that he and his family vacationed with them every year in Hawaii, and Nesbitt visited the White House without having to schedule appointments. He and Barack golfed together and stayed together at Camp David.

The short version of the story is that Nesbitt formed a company, Vistria, that invested in highly regulated industries. When the Obama administration would go after a certain industry, the value of the targeted businesses would drop, and Vistria would buy them up. Schweizer explains:

A curious pattern began to emerge. Obama and his administration would attack industries with government power, which led to substantially lower valuations for these companies. Nesbitt and Vistria, or others close to Obama, could then acquire those assets for pennies on the dollar.

The Obama administration had several industries in their crosshairs, deeming them destructive to the environment or exploitative of people. Industries such as coal mining, offshore energy companies, cash advance companies, and for-profit colleges became targets for litigation, regulatory squeeze, or denial of access to government services or funds. A circle of investors including Vistria and others linked to Obama would consistently purchase companies in these sectors once their valuations dropped under the government onslaught.

Schweizer, Peter. Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends

And that is just one example.

This entry was posted in 2020 Presidential Race, Corruption, Government, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Public servants” cash in

  1. Lucille says:

    What’s the percentage of honest folk entering politics who remain that way? I’d wager it’s less and less each year, never having been a huge percentage in the first place. The temptations are vast. Money = power. And love of money–what it can purchase for creature comforts and what it can buy in the way of influence plus how it can get a person out of scrapes–is the root of all evil.

    One of the consolations for the average citizen is that the culprits will be caught, tried and hopefully jailed. Sadly, of that we’re not so hopeful anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeans2nd says:

      Sadly, Lucille, these same people participating in the graft and corruption make the laws about graft and corruption, which is why few, if any, ever see consequences even if caught, which they never are.
      Personally, i think they are all drunks or on drugs, both of which are legal in D.C.

      And people wonder why voting participation is so low in the U.S.
      Why vote? Voting changes nothing.

      “They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:3

      Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      I agree. I think that the old timers enforce “rules” on the newcomers too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. auscitizenmom says:



  3. Lucille says:

    Bigshot Dem gets ‘nearly 5 year’ sentence recommendation from fed prosecutors for ‘broad range of criminal acts’ that dwarf Stone’s
    By Thomas Lifson – February 15, 2020

    Eat your heart out, Roger Stone. A very prominent Democrat, Catherine E. Pugh — former mayor of Baltimore and majority leader of the Maryland State Senate — is getting a sentence recommendation a bit more than half of what you got at the hands of DOJ prosecutors for a range of crimes that dwarf anything of which you were accused.



  4. czarowniczy says:

    I’ve said it before many times and I’ll say it again. I worked in a Senator’s office some 50ish years ago and a staffer told me that it costs millions to run for Senator, a job that payed at that time about $42,500 a year. He also said that no Congressjerk (not exactly the term he used) left office with equal or less than he had when he took office. You do the math.

    Liked by 2 people

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