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Adam Thomas November 28, 2011 So Damn Much Money: Part II In the second half of So Damn Much Money,

Robert G. Kaiser continues to describe how lobbying has changed over the years, and how it has affected the culture in Washington. By tracking the status of Gerald Cassidy's lobbying firm, as well as other firms, politicians, and their actions, Kaiser further develops his point that lobbying has contributed to the corrosion of American government. This corrosion is made evident by the revolving door between government and lobbyists, increased radicalism and refusal to compromise, and by the buying and selling of elections. Kaiser believes that lobbying has created a revolving door where many former government officials accept jobs at lobbying firms. By 1993, he writes, the hiring of former members of congress had become quite a fashion among Washington lobbyists (250). These prominent former members of congress are especially valued by lobbyists because of their experience with the system, and most of all, their connections and relationships with current members of congress. When measures were brought up to stall this flow of congress members to lobbying firms, congress members on both sides of the aisles refused to support it, claiming that they needed their post-congress lobbying careers to make their time as a lower salary congress member worth it. These complaints led some to question when congress members stopped being public servants, and started being lobbyists-in-training (343). Another contributor to corrosion and product of lobbying, according to Kaiser, was the increasing radicalism in congress. Newt Gingrich had put in a lot of work before the Republican sweep in 1994. The democrats had been in power for some time, but they helped Gingrich's

cause by becoming tangled in several controversies involving lobbyists. When the republicans and Gingrich had taken over, the sides became farther apart than ever. There was no longer any limit as to how low each side would go to defeat the other. Campaign contributions from lobbyists weren't questioned, propaganda was fair play, and compromise was out of the question. Kaiser argues that large increases in campaign contributions are also corroding the American government. The amount of money spent on campaign contributions in 2000 was three times the total spent in the 1976 elections (290). This increase means a greater proportion of the rich being elected to congress, because only they can afford to run. It also forces member of congress to spend much of their time and effort fund-raising, rather than addressing actual issues. Those who can't afford to run are forced to sell their soul for campaign money. Gerald Cassidy never saw this giving as bribery, but he still admitted that he believed the United States should have publicly financed congressional elections (300). Kaiser's overall argument is that lobbying set in motion a chain of events that has gradually corroded the American government. He doesn't blame democrats or republicans for this corrosion, he doesn't even blame Cassidy or other individuals. Instead, he blames the corrosion of government on money. He claims that lobbyists, congress, and other involved members do what they do only because they can make large sums of money. This is an interesting point because it infers that any solution to the corrosion would require changing the system to make these reprehensible actions not profitable.

Reference Kaiser, Robert G. 2010. So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government. New York, NY: Vintage Books.