Rags-to-riches Washington style

A few days ago, I wrote about how corruption in Sri Lankan politics has become so brazen that politicians argue that it is better to return incumbents who have become wealthy while in office rather than elect new people who are seeking to join the ranks of the affluent and will thus initiate a new round of bribery and theft.

Of course, there is plenty of corruption here in the US too. I don’t know many politicians in the US who have left office poorer, or at least not much wealthier, than when they were in office. Corruption in the US is (as yet at least) a little more subtle and more often takes the form of doing favors for wealthy interests while in office and then getting rewarded with a lucrative position or with ‘consultancies’ after one leaves, where one cashes in on the contacts one has made in government.

The same process occurs with people in the military or in the intelligence services or the Treasury and similar entities that have a revolving door that connects government employment with the private sector.

Investigative reporter Ken Silverstein looks at one example of how people with connections to the Obama administration make themselves rich. The story of Jim Messina is a perfect example of how political operatives in the US trade in their contacts with government officials for private gain.

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