A senior Democratic hill staffer chimes in the AP Reid/Abramoff piece and our response
Longtime reader, first time writer. In rebuttal to the hit piece on Reid you're falling into the trap being set by the Republicans. People, and the media in particular, are getting way too caught up on "who lobbied who, and for what reason" and anyone who was lobbied, is a lobbyist, worked with a lobbyist, or received a donation from someone represented by a lobbyist has the stench of corruption. That's unfair and misses the crux of this particular scandal, and how GOP pay to play government works.
Its not illegal to be lobbied, and hell, we couldn't do our jobs if we didn't interact with them. Legislation/regulation/oversight can't be done solely by Google research. What is illegal is to go out of your way, and use your position, as quid pro quo for gifts, jobs, and campaign contributions. The vast majority of Democratic staffers work on the Hill, despite the miserable pay and long hours, to try to achieve some measure of good. Many, many Republican staffers- convinced that government is an evil- work here in order to make money off that necessary evil. That breeds corruption. When you have a majority of members and staffers that could care less about policy ad governing and more about power/influence/money/profit Abramoff is inevitable. When the hard, tedious work of legislating and oversight is done by people motivated by careerism rather than professionalism not only do you have Abramoff, but you have Michael Brown, Halliburton, and illegal NSA wiretapping.
I could go on and on.
As I told the reader in my private response, I agree with a lot of what he says. But sloppy and misleading journalism really has to be pointed out. There's no alternative.