Just over ten years ago, the American legislative system was rocked by a series of scandals surrounding powerful lobbyist Jack Abramoff who claimed to have “bought” influence in nearly half of the United States congressional offices. The Abramoff scandal brought public attention to three critical areas of corruption in congressional politics: loopholes in gift-giving laws, campaign finance, and the revolving door. For instance, why are lobbyists allowed to buy a meal for congressional representatives if they are both standing up but not if they are sitting down? Why is sharing a simple meal with an elected official banned but allowed so long as campaign contribution checks are exchanged (i.e., the mystery of the $5,000 hamburger)? And just how much does it cost to buy your congressman? We explore these areas of corruption that were brought to light in 2006 by “the biggest political scandal of the century,” and examine how things have, or in some instances, haven’t changed in the years since the Abramoff scandal broke. Does Congress run cleaner today? Or is it still politics as usual?
Milita, K. and Bunch, J. (2017), "Legislative Scandals in the United States", Corruption, Accountability and Discretion (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 45-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720170000029003Download as .RIS
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