Saturday, December 18, 2004

They used to call it "graft."

How does it work? This is how it works.

When in Congress, pass legislation at the behest of some giant industry, and pay no attention at all to what will actually help the citizens in your district. Heck, let the industry WRITE the laws if they want to. In exchange, they'll give you tons of contributions allowing you to flood the airwaves with spin, deflection and lies so you can get re-elected, and eventually reward you with a million dollar job.

Retiring Representative Billy Tauzin, who led the House committee that regulates drug makers, will become head of the industry's top lobbying group next month.

Tauzin said his most important challenge will be improving the image of drug companies, which has been damaged by soaring prescription drug costs and high-profile safety issues with the arthritis medication Vioxx and other medicines.

Public Citizen and Common Cause, two watchdog groups, criticized Tauzin for using his public service for his personal benefit. They pointed to his deep involvement in developing legislation last year for Medicare prescription drugs. Opponents said the law provides billions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry while failing to slow increases in drug prices.

"We think that it stinks," Common Cause spokeswoman Mary Boyle said. "Whose interests did he have at heart, those of the American people or his future employer?"

And the worst thing? This sort of shit is actually legal.

Graft is legal.

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