Lawrence Lessig's SALT talk: the new federal government corruption

Kevin Kelly provided a nice summary of Larry Lessig's recent SALT ( Seminar About Long-Term Thinking) talk. It was about corruption in the US congress.

201201191245Lessig said the type of corruption rampant in the US Congress is not the old type of bribery, where congressional representatives had safes in their offices to hold the cash they received for voting in certain directions. That is now illegal and eliminated. This new type of corruption is more subtle, indirect and harder to outlaw…. the real money to be made in Congress is the relative fortune to be made as a lobbyist after leaving office. The differential in wages between a staff member and a lobbyist has escalated a hundred fold in the past 40 years. Now 43% of staff go on to become lobbyists. The promise of a well-paying job working for corporate interests later is enough to warp voting now.

I'm not sure if Lessig talked about SOPA-shill Chris Dodd, but he's a prime example. Not only did Senator Dodd engage in old-school corruption by protecting sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial in exchange for special treatment by the crooked lender for his personal mortgages, he also landed a plum lobbyist job as Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America after promising he'd never become a lobbyist.

SALT talk by Lawrence Lessig: “How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It”