Politicians’ settlement slush fund

By: Robert Lee - Contributing columnist

In the past, I have written that it was time to drain the swamp. I was so wrong to have written those words. We don’t need to drain the swamp, we just need to flush the toilet on these pigs in office. To even think that there is a fund to pay off those who have been sexually assaulted by a politician in or out of office is hard to understand. Who came up with this bright idea? There has to be a starting point with a name attached to it. If there is more than one name then all of those involved have to go to prison for the misappropriation of our tax dollars. Just this past October, the House passed a bill designed to stop the Justice Department and all other federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of settlement agreements. It is called the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017.

Can you believe this B.S. law? If our politicians had any morals there would have been no need to pass such a law. But step back and look at this. It looks like the Justice Department has been involved in legal blackmail by requiring anyone found guilty of a crime to donate money to outside groups. Anything other than a fine that they received should have never been paid out. I know there are good politicians in Washington but at this point I wonder just how many are not corrupt.

For the most part, they remind me of something you might have stepped in at one time or the other — you know, what you scrape off of you shoes that does not smell very good. If the other politicians are not corrupt, then why did they not rat out the guilty ones? I can tell you why: They are part of the “good old boy network.” You lie for me and I will lie for you. It’s time to stop them dead in their tracks. They all know what’s going on, unless they keep their eyes closed and their ears plugged. Washington has turned into nothing more than a slime pit.

In a recent investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, it was exposed that the DOJ used mandatory donations to move a billion dollars to activist groups during the last two years of Obama’s Administration. This was done with the blessing of the president. Documents from inside of Obama’s administration showed that third-party organizations were involved in pushing the DOJ to receive settlement money. This money made it into the hands of the Left, and the DOJ made sure nothing went to conservative groups. Oh my, did you really think it would have gone any other way? Until I started looking into it, I had no idea how much of our money was going into such a wide variety of funds.

One example comes from 1989 when Congress passed the Ethics Reform Act. It states that a member of Congress can not convert campaign funds into money for personal use. Sounds good, but it was a total lie passed on to the people for us to believe. You see, most of these people in Congress were lawyers before they got into politics. They know how to play with words and people and they did so. The congressional leadership invented the leadership political action committees. With these slick committees, it turns out that, technically, these funds are not campaign funds. So therefore the money can be used for whatever the politicians decide to spend it on. Oh, so convenient. As with all things in Washington, the devil is in the details; loopholes are always put in place for many reasons. To me, all of this looks like a subsidy for the politicians’ personal lifestyles.

For the past few years, the Hoover Institution has been investigating how members of the House and the Senate are personally benefiting from the hundreds of millions of dollars in political contributions that have flowed into these funds. All of this is so wrong. These politicians are all accountable to us, the taxpayers — even though most of them do not believe this anymore. When the PACs first came about it, was for the congressional leaders of both parties. Now it has turned into something a bit different. In the beginning it was created to raise money to be shared by all members of each party. Now, just about every senator and congressman has a PAC — it is no longer just for the leadership.

What we now have in this country is two classes: The political and peasant class. Guess who you are, as you count your change to buy gas for you car? With these PACs, they ask for contributions. This comes from supporters who think the money is being used to advance political agendas. Not quite. In a lot of cases it goes into their own lifestyle and career advancement. They are nothing more than political slush funds. Don’t get me wrong, they have been around for many years. They have been outlawed, but it does not matter. The slick politicians bring them back with another name and face attached to them.

What we are seeing now are special interest groups, along with lobbyists, helping to build personal expense accounts for members of both parties within Congress. These PACs control billions of dollars and they also control the politicians, believe it or not. What you and I would go to jail for, the politicians get a free pass on. Why is nobody taking the time to check and see if the expenses for trips are legitimate for business or if it is personal. Our own John Edwards, back in 2006, paid his girlfriend at the time $120,000 to make a campaign video when he was running as a candidate for president. These funds came from his leadership PAC. A congressman from Florida spent $32,000 for a tour of California wineries. He was hosting a group of contributors from the defense industry, which he is tied to. Out of these two, one was a Democrat, the other a Republican. They are all cut from the same cloth.

I have saved the best until last. In the event of a dollar-valued settlement of sexual harassment, the members of Congress can take money from a taxpayer-funded account set up within the Treasury Department to cover their legal expenses and settle cases. In the past 20 years, $17 million has been paid out for these politicians. Now we see that our own government is part of a conspiracy to cover up these cases of sexual misconduct. Welcome to Crazy World: What’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right. These so-called honorable men go out and play grabass and it’s up to the taxpayers to bail them out.

I don’t think so, not with our money. It’s time for these people to go to prison — all of them. Fine them and strip them of all power. Not tomorrow but today.

According to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, this is what has been paid out to settle cases of sexual harassment on behalf our politicians. I will only touch on a few because there are so many. The number of cases from 1997 until 2017 have been 278. Think about those numbers and think about how many members of the House and Senate there are. These settlements are all from separate charges. To think these politicians are our best and brightest. I would not want my wife or daughter to be alone for one moment with these people of low moral character. If they’re found guilty of a sexual crime, then they should pay out of their own pocket. Why make the taxpayer responsible for their poor judgment and stupidity.

It is hard enough for the taxpayers of this country. This burden and liability needs to fall on the criminal.

Robert Lee is a concerned citizen and U.S. Marine veteran who owns and operates Rockingham Guns and Ammo. His column appears here each Saturday.

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Robert Lee

Contributing columnist