Mark Foley is a whore. No, not THAT kind of whore . . .

October 6, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More

Mark Foley is a political whore, like most of his elected peers in Washington, DC.  Yes, this post is yet another plea for radical campaign finance reform.

Our country appears to be going down the tubes and for the most part it is not because of perverts like Mark Foley are trying to seduce young boys.  The reason we are really in trouble is because hundreds of elected officials (Mark Foley among them) are perverting our Constitution by acquiescing in our corrupt (though technically legal) election system.

How often do you hear a politician discussing an issue in a way that makes intuitive sense to you and seems straightforward?  Not very often, in my experience.  Almost all political conversations emanating from DC are contorted by money.  That is why very little political dialogue makes sense to those who are not closely monitoring the flow of contributions.  The result is that we the citizens are getting is a steady stream of legislation geared toward helping big contributors (mostly big companies) at the expense of individual citizens. 

Today, Salon.com featured an article about Mark Foley, a known sex pervert.  Foley has also been busy perverting our electoral system (as have most other elected federal officials) by taking big money from corporate interests and working hard to reward those contributors. Since Foley himself happened to be in the news already, Salon.com made him today’s poster boy in an article demonstrating that political/financial quid pro quo is alive and well.

The Salon.com story reveals that, since 2000, Oxford Management Services, a debt collection agency from Long Island, has given political contributions of $156,000, most of it going to only two House members, Mark Foley and Tom Reynolds (Reynolds, whose staff approached ABC in an effort to attempt to kill the Foley story).  Why would a company focuse so much financial attention on Foley and Reynolds?  Here’s a bit hint: to inspire Mark Foley to work really hard to pass legislation that would benefit Oxford.  This purpose of the big contributions was made clear when Foley and Reynolds appeared at two separate ceremonies held by the company:

The company was not shy about stressing the purpose of the congressional visits. When Foley appeared in Palm Gardens, the press release explicitly stated, “The main purpose of discussion between the congressman and OMS associates was the use of private collection firms assisting the IRS in collecting delinquent taxes.”

In an interview Thursday, Richard Pinto[Oxford’s Chairman of the Board] bristled at suggestions that the family’s political contributions had been directly designed to win an IRS contract. Pinto angrily called the question “insulting” and stated emphatically that “there is no quid pro quo.”

As Salon points out, Foley happened to be serving on the House Ways and Means committee dealing with the Internal Revenue Service at all relevant times.  While Foley served on that committee, the IRS announced that it was going to begin hiring private debt collection firms such as Oxford (although Oxford did not get chosen for the first round of IRS contracts).

Politicians and their contributors will give you all kinds of convoluted reasons for suspicious looking activities and they will earnestly insist that things aren’t what they seem to be.  Here’s my response to those specious responses: follow the money.  Follow it carefully and often.  How often does it happen that a big contributor gets its way?  Based on the warm and cozy private time contributors get with politicians, I say quite a bit.  As most of us individual citizens know, it is not often that a federal elected official seek out our opinions on any issues of the day. 

In fact, being a worthy but unmonied cause doesn’t get you much either.  A friend of mine who recently lobbied DC politicians for increased protections for consumers (on behalf of an organization that was not in the position to make a big contribution) was told by a senator’s staff that he was wasting his time.

Campaign finance reform is urgently needed.  Until elections are financed through public money rather than private money, we will get more and more episodes where big companies pay politicians lots of money and then get special treatment, to the detriment of most taxpayers.  There’s a reason that most of the large contributors to one of the two major parties also contribute heavily to the other major party.  They are buying access, and access eventually ripens into private gain at the expense of individual citizens.

Until private money is taken out of the election system, all discussions regarding all major issues will continue to be intellectually perverted; we will continue to hear all kinds of specious reasons for why people allegedly believe the things they don’t believe. And in the end, it will be the individual citizens that get screwed.

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Category: American Culture, Campaign Finance Reform, Corruption, Politics, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. hogiemo says:

    "I get on my knees and pray, just like yesterday, we don't get fooled again!"

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Campaign finance laws are a great example of the folly of rewarding "A" while expecting "B": we simply will never have politicians truly representing public interests until their political campaigns are financed by the public. Yes, this will likely mean higher taxes, but it will be a small price to pay if it shifts politican attention away from corporate interests and onto public ones.

    Speaking of higher taxes…it is important to remember that higher taxes, per se, are not inherently evil, as most Republicans would have us believe. The real question is whether the taxes we pay provide a worthwhile service in exchange: yes, sometimes taxes are a better way to pay for things than by trusting the private sector. Campaign financing offers an example: if political campaigns were financed with public money (so the argument goes), then politicians would be less dependent upon corporate donors and less likely to encounter conflicts-of-interest with respect to the voters they are supposed to represent. It's an idea that's worth a try.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's an example of what happens when you follow the money. The FCC is currently pushing for further consolidation (It's not enough that only 5 corporations currently control most of the TV, radio, books, magazines and CD's). The FCC wants to accomplish this by abrogating the current rule that prohibits cross-ownership of newspaper and broadcast media in the same market.

    The media owners say that they need to be allowed to own BOTH newspapers and broadcast media in the same market to creat economic efficiency. At the FCC public hearings in LA yesterday, 79 out of the 80 citizens who came forward testified against further consolidation–yet the FCC is moving forward. Oh, and the FCC tried to do this 3 years ago under Michael Powell's leadership. Three MILLION people wrote the FCC to voice opposition to consolidation, the exact issue now at stake.

    THAT is what money given to politicians can buy.

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