The Second Term Revolving Door

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The “revolving door” between business and government has swung rapidly in President Bush’s second term. In just a few months, scores of administration officials have flocked to industry jobs, cashing in with the corporations they once regulated. Also, a slew of former industry executives are bringing their corporate-friendly approach to the oversight and execution of public policy.

James Madison famously wrote in Federalist Paper 51: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Lured by corporate largess, the Bush administration has lost the ability to control itself. As a result, public policy has suffered across the board.

The indictment of Tom DeLay is particularly troubling because it is emblematic of a culture of corruption that has infected the federal government at the highest levels. The Bush Administration has stocked the bureaucracy with cronies and incompetents, and scores of Administration officials have left the government in this year alone to work for the industries they once regulated. The Administration allowed pharmaceutical lobbyists to write the prescription drug bill, energy companies to write the energy bill, and continues to reward companies like Halliburton — that mismanaged billions of reconstruction dollars in Iraq — with huge, no-bid contracts.

The Center for American Progress has released a report detailing the movement of administration officials in and out of industry over the first six months of President Bush's term. As the New York Times recently wrote, "in an administration that saw fit to put Vice President Dick Cheney, a former oil industry executive, in charge of drafting its closed-door energy policy, there is little prospect for reining in the special interests. The public will be the loser."

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