TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross

How a bill becomes ... a cow

extortion.jpg
"Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets" by Peter Schweizer. (Image courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade) | Zoom
Peter Schweizer, who runs the Government Accountability Institute, is out with another book about how Congress really works. This one is called "Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets," not that what the members are doing is illegal - because Congress has seen to that.

"What we define as legal or illegal behavior when it comes to political fundraising is determined by Congress and they're very happy with this approach," explains Schweizer.

So none of this is the least bit illegal. But, for example, you'll see members introduce what he calls "milker bills" - bills that are used as cows.

Cash cows.

"A milker bill is a bill designed to scare the daylight out of a company or an industry where they will pay attention to you, the politician, and they will come to you with offers of campaign contributions and lobbying contracts for family members and friends in the hopes of making the bill go away," says Schweizer.

Why do corporate CEOS go along with this? Because they have no choice.

"Former corporate executives who have retired don't have anything to lose really do, did, resent this process," he says. "But it's going to take real strength on the part of the corporate side because, again, it's a marketplace. The sellers who influence the politicians are going to do whatever they can to create conditions to sell and if they can force people to buy - that marketplace is going to continue."

Peter Schweizer, author of "Extortion."

Remember - it's only illegal if you do it.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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