Want to know how Washington works?
Anne Eppard is a Washington lobbyist. Last year she earned $1.5 million. That’s a lot of money! But what’s truly amazing is that her lobbying fees kept coming in even after she was indicted on seven felony counts alleging among other things that she took $230,000 in payoffs to steer government contracts to special interests.
“Eppard’s experience since her indictment,” writes The Washington Post , “provides a pointed illustration of the realpolitik of the Washington lobbying world: What matters most to clients is not who you are, but who you know, and your ability to get results.”
You see Anne Eppard is a very close friend of Congressman Bud Schuster, the powerful chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. You’ll remember that Schuster is a leading pork-barreler whose committee was caught offering members of Congress an extra $25 million of wasteful spending in their districts in exchange for their votes on last year’s transportation bill.
Relationships like Eppard’s and Schuster’s, which compromise our government and waste our precious tax dollars, don’t spring up overnight. This one has developed over the 25 years while she worked as a staffer for Schuster. Nor do most congressmen go to Congress believing that the federal government is their personal plaything.
But sometimes, especially after almost 30 years in office, that arrogant attitude takes over. So this is how Washington works with the sweetheart deals between lobbyists and career politicians. But of course, that means Washington doesn’t work.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.