For the Good of Illinois

OpenTheBooks Oversight Report - The Congressional Favor Factory

October 9, 2019 10:30 AM
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OpenTheBooks
The Congressional Favor Factory Oversight Report:
Legalized Pay-to-Play
A study of Federal Grants, Campaign Cash, Investments, Employment, Power & Influence
 
Read the full report, click here. 
 
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Front_Cover
  

Prologue  

 

Did you ever wonder why 97 percent of Members of Congress get reelected each year even though only 17 percent of the American people believe our representatives are doing a good job?

It’s called an incumbent protection system. That system has many features. For instance, most districts are gerrymandered by states to protect incumbents. In a real sense, politicians pick their voters as much as voters pick their politicians.

Another feature is that Members of Congress more or less write their own rules. It’s no surprise they know how to play the game.

Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report: The Congressional Favor Factory: Legalizing Pay-To-Play – A Study Of Federal Grants, Campaign Cash, Investments, Employment, Power & Influence includes eight case study examples – four Republicans and four Democrats.

These Members serve on the most powerful committees in Congress.

We followed the money and found a culture of conflict-of-interest. The confluence of federal money, campaign cash, private employment, investments, prestigious committee appointments, political power, nepotism, and other conflicts are a fact pattern.

Members of Congress own investment stock in, are employed by, and receive retirement pensions from federal contractors – to whom billions of taxpayer dollars flow. Moreover, Members sponsor legislation that affects these contractors. Then, the contractor’s lobbyists advocate for the legislation that helps the Member and the contractor. Oftentimes, the contractor’s lobbyist donates campaign cash to the Member, as well. 

Our audit provides the details on how the game is played… with your tax dollars. We found the top donors to Members giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash and receiving millions – if not billions of dollars – in federal subsidies and contracts. 

Congress writes our laws. Nothing we uncovered in our oversight report is illegal.

In fact, it’s all legal. Quite possibly, that is the scandal.

Members of Congress are elected to oversee the federal activity in their districts. It's time to hold these politicians accountable.

 

Read the full report, click here.
 

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