Credibility Trap: US Congressmen and Their Staffs Regularly Engage In Insider Trading
These dozen Congressmen are just the ones that would brag about it openly to Jack Abramoff.
Trading in insider information amongst the Congress and their staffs is a form of soft bribery that undermines the character of the legislation, and is a relative side dish compared to the huge amounts of lobbying funds being thrown around by corporate special interests. And both parties are in on it to varying degrees.
It can seem an odd corruption to the average person, given the lavish benefits and pensions granted to members of Congress. What is shocking is not that officials sell themselves, but rather, that they sell themselves so brazenly and often for so little. But it makes sense if one understands the attitude of privilege and the insatiable nature of greed.
Corruption of public officials is not news. But when it becomes epidemic, and when powerful interests can use even relatively petty offenses to blackmail representatives, when lobbyists write the legislation designed to reform their industry, and when enormous financial frauds result in show investigations and big talk but no prosecutions, then it is news. And it is a shame and the decline of the rule of law.
Big corruption starts to crowd out petty corruption, which is its seedbed. Once corruption becomes institutionalized, the morally ambivalent all aspire to be in the one percent club, as a symbol of status and power. If this is the age of greed, then not to be corrupt is to be out of step with fashion, because greed is inherently corrupting. Reformers and progressives are out of touch, and tedious. Squares.
As is so often the case amongst men in crowds, life imitates high school.