US vote: Fight over ‘clean money’ vs. ‘dirty money’

© Rainier Ehrhardt
It is not the issue of how much money is invested in the political process, but what kind of money is there, said former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Some altruistically give money just in order to have general impact, others want something back, he added.

RT: You’ve seen the good, the bad and very ugly when it comes to politics and money. People say often times in this election it is worse than it has ever been. Do you buy that?

Jack Abramoff: Not really. The thing that people forget is that every election is worse than it has ever been. I don’t remember an election where people who had money and wanted to get it into the election, couldn’t get it into the election. There are just different vehicles to do it. There has always been some vehicle, where people who have a lot of money, who want to put it in the political process have been able to do it.

RT: The scandal you were involved in hit the headlines back in 2004. Do you feel like it sort of opened a Pandora’s Box, if you will, the national consciousness of money in politics, and how it moves in a way people may never have seen before?

JA: I think it’s cyclical. I think what happens is events, like the scandal that I was involved in and other events, where people are caught doing something, or somehow the process of making the sausages, as they do in the political process, is exposed to people to get to actually see what’s in that sausage, people start paying attention. It is like when you’re driving down the road and you see on the side of the road a car wreck, and you see bodies scattered all over the pavement, and there is blood everywhere. What are you going to do? For the next mile you’re going to drive perfectly, and then they go right back to it. The American public, however, is sick of this.

RT: You’ve mentioned before the concept of ‘good money’ and ‘bad money’...

JA: I don’t think the issue is how much money is in it, I think the issue is – what kind of money is there. Is it money from somebody who is just altruistically giving money, so that they can have a general impact on the political process, they want to support general issues that are for a common good; or they’re the people who want something back for their money. Unfortunately, too much of the big dollar money is [from] people who want something back…

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