A Republican congressman from Louisiana has admitted that he voted in a particular way so that he would get a political contribution in return.
McAllister said he voted “no” on legislation related to the Bureau of Land Management though he did not identify the bill. McAllister said a colleague on the House floor told him that he would receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation if he voted against the bill. He would not name his colleague since he “did not want to put their business out on the street.”
“I played dumb and asked him, ‘How would you vote?'” McAllister said. “He told me, ‘Vote no and you will get a $1,200 check from the Heritage Foundation. If you vote yes, you will get a $1,000 check from some environmental impact group.'”
McAllister said he voted against the bill but did not receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation. Federal law prohibits public officials, including members of Congress, from directly or indirectly seeking, accepting or agreeing to receive anything of value in return for the performance of any official act such as voting.
“I voted no, and I didn’t get a Heritage Foundation check but he did,” McAllister said. “I went back and checked with my friend, ‘I didn’t get a check, man. What were you talking about?’ He told me, ‘Well, I got one. Why didn’t you?’
What surprises me is not that politicians can be bought but that they are so cheap. $1,200 to sway a vote in the US Congress? Hell, at that price, even I could afford to buy a politician if the issue was important enough and I did not worry about committing a crime.
This illustrates how the system works. There does not need to be a direct offer of a bribe. You just let word get around that some votes will be rewarded indirectly and then sit back and wait.