Worse Than You Think
Corruption on Capitol Hill is “worse than you think,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.,insists.
“When you first get here, you think that you are in some sort of fairy-tale novel,” Buck said. “They wine and dine you and they show you just exactly what it’s like if you play the game. It’s a wonderful life.”
Things quickly change, however, if “you don’t play the game.”
“If you don’t play the game…it becomes a much less conformable existence here,” Buck said.
Buck, who has served Colorado’s 4th Congressional District since 2015, previewed his new book, “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,” published on Tuesday.
Chapters in Buck’s book include “Why Washington is a Swamp,” “Play the Game–Or Else,” “Beating the Beltway Bullies,” and “What You Can Do To Drain the Swamp.”
Buck said his book addresses corruption present in government today that he was not prepared for after being elected to Congress in 2014.
“One of the things that I found startling when I got here is that you have to pay dues to be on a committee,” Buck said.
During the time he served on the House Judiciary Committee, Buck said he had to pay periodic dues of $200,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign committee of the House of Representatives.
Now, as a member of the House Rules Committee, Buck’s periodic dues are $450,000.
The obligation to pay dues, Buck said, forces members of Congress to hold fundraising receptions and encourages corrupt influences from special interest organizations who attend the fundraisers.
“Who comes to those receptions with checks?” Buck said. “Lobbyists, special interests that want something in return. So there is a game that goes on that you owe the party money and you are expected to vote with the chairman and you are expected to help special interests groups in Washington, D.C.”
Buck said there is also a significant amount of corruption in how Congress justifies spending for new project or programs.
“In the book, I list very specific ways that we need to change the incentives that we have in Congress,” Buck said. “I talk about … what we call‘pay–fors.’ When we have new spending, we find ways to pay for that new spending program.”
Some of the ways Congress could pay for a new project or program are through tax increases or cuts to other programs, both of which are unlikely, Buck said.
Instead, Congress “makes up” sources of revenue.
So we pass a transportation bill, and in the transportation bill we say that we’re going to sell oil in a strategic petroleum reserve to pay for that transportation bill. Now, what’s fascinating about this is that the average price that that oil was purchased at is $76. The price when we sold that oil was $48. Only in government is that considered a profit.
An issue with this system, Buck said, is that revenues from “pay–fors” have already been accounted for.
“One of the problems is that that barrel of oil that was used in the transportation bill as a ‘pay–for’ was already sold twice before,” Buck said.
This form of governing, Buck said, is irresponsible.
“If everything’s been paid for for so long, how did we get $20 trillion dollars in debt?” Buck said.
In an effort to bring transparency to the “pay–for” phenomenon, Buck introduced a bill last Thursday that would require the Office of Management and Budget to track and report the revenue that “pay–fors” actually bring.
“One of the bills that I just recently dropped would ask the Office of Management and Budget to do an annual report to Congress so it is available to the American people on how much revenue did those ‘payfors’ generate,” Buck said.
Buck’s goal, he said, is to educate the American people about the corruption in government so they are not as naive as Buck found himself when he started working in Congress.
“Before I got here, I knew that D.C. was broken, I didn’t know the specifics,” Buck said. “I’m hoping that by giving the American public the specifics, we actually have the record out there just … to make sure that people are aware.”
WASHINGTON – Colorado Rep. Ken Buck hasn’t made a lot of friends in Washington as a founding member of the often unruly, ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus that's fond of challenging the party’s leaders on Capitol Hill.
And the second-term Republican is unlikely to make many more with Tuesday’s publication of his tell-all book, Drain the Swamp: How Washington is Worse Than You Think, co-authored with Bill Blankschaen.
In it, Buck says lawmakers are mostly “fat and happy alligators who feel pretty darn comfortable in the swamp.” He casts Republican leaders as “playground bullies” who go to great lengths, including yanking subcommittee chairmanships and canceling lawmakers’ overseas trips, to punish dissenters. And he decries a “pay-to-play” system in which plum committee assignments and leadership slots are tied to lawmakers’ fundraising skills instead of their policy expertise.
“The critical criteria for getting ahead is fundraising, and it’s a reality that the people you are going to raise money from want something" from Congress,Buck told USA TODAY in a telephone interview Monday. “A lot of members see the problem, but they want to get re-elected.”
Early in the book, Buck spells out the steep dues lawmakers are required to give to the House Republican campaign committee keep their seats on influential committees. As a member of the House Rules Committee — one of the five “A” committees that also include Appropriations, Ways and Means, Financial Services and Energy and Commerce — Buck said he must raise $450,000 over the next two years for the GOP’s House campaign arm if he hopes to retain his slot.
The chairman of an “A” committee must raise even more: $1.2 million, he wrote. It’s no wonder, then, that “some members of Congress spend at least half their time fundraising to keep their dues paid and campaign coffers full,” Buck said.
Buck, unlike some Freedom Caucus members, pays those dues, he said, because he wants his party to retain its majority in Congress.
Lawmakers' dues to party: 'Extortion' or team effort?
Collapse of Obamacare repeal plan puts Freedom Caucus in complicate...
Buck, a former federal prosecutor, represents a sprawling district covering Eastern Colorado’s high plains. In 2010, he narrowly lost a U.S. Senate race, dogged in the general election by unflattering comments he made about his female rival in the GOP primary and a statement comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
In 2014, he ran successfully for an open House seat and quickly aligned with like-minded conservatives to help form the Freedom Caucus. He said he soon risked ouster as president of his freshman class over his refusal to back a trade measure.
Some of the anecdotes cited in Buck’s 152-page book were subject of news coverage at the time, such as a short-lived move in 2015 tostrip another conservative upstart, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., of a... after he bucked then-House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders on a procedural vote.
But it’s rare for a sitting lawmaker to write a tome about Washington’s perceived ills.
“A lot of people leave Congress and then write a book about the terrible evils they saw when they were in Congress for 20 years,” Buck said in the interview. “I think it’s important to write a book while I’m there. I’m working within the system because the only way to change the system is for the American people to know what’s going on and to put pressure on Congress to change."
A new book by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., "Drain The Swamp", slams dysfunction in Washington. (Photo: Handout)
Buck trains some of his fire on someone no longer in Congress: Boehner, who resigned in the fall of 2015 in the face of opposition from Freedom Caucus members. They were displeased about Boehner’s compromises with President Obama.
In the interview, Buck said he has discussed the book with the current House leaders, but he declined to “repeat private conversations," detailing their reactions.
Buck views his effort as a principled stand against a free-spending and undisciplined Washington.
His top goal: urging voters to agitate for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He said it would restore fiscal discipline to Congress and help drive out big money in politics because lawmakers would no longer have the leeway “to give everybody everything they wanted” in spending bills.
Changing the Constitution is a long shot. Buck is urging his readers to become involved in the so-called Article V movement, which proposes an action unprecedented in U.S. history: a convention called by the states to draft amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The movement has raised fears of a runaway convention in which everything from gun ownership to gay marriage could be up for debate. Buck argues the requirement that three-fourths of states approve any changes would be a safeguard against radical change to the Constitution.
Buck also is pushing changes that are smaller in scope, such as ensuring that lawmakers actually work on Mondays, a day when votes are rarely scheduled because most lawmakers are traveling back to Washington from their home districts.
Buck's title echoes the campaign slogan of President Trump, who talked often during the presidential race of reducing the influence of special interests in Washington. In the book, Buck encourages Trump to follow through on his campaign pledges, such as slowing the revolving door between the executive branch and lobbying firms.
Buck said “more than a few” rank-and-file members have approached him to ask “ ‘Is my name in the book?’ I find that really funny because they must feel guilty about something.”
In the end, he said, some of his colleagues could "feel betrayed and there are the some who will feel relieved because this is what needs to happen and somebody else is stepping out in front of the train to get this done.”
"I didn't go there, (Washington), with a lot of friends," Buck added. "And I won't leave with a lot..."
Editor's Note - First, I'd like to say that I did not know that it cost all that money to join a Committee. This article very clearly describes the main motivation for D.C. and the rest of that crowd to ignore our requests for redress of grievances, our Natural rights and everything else in "The Constitution of...".
POWER! MONEY! INFLUENCE! DOMINATION! SLAVERY! Did I mention MONEY? Is that enough reasons?
This is pure evil we are fighting folks and I think any resultant point as to the solution is now MOOT! We have our task, so let's GO~!
The answer is
1).We get THIS article spread far and wide as a comprehensive plan to educate our fellow man as to the "root" of the problem.
2).We initiate "The Fourth Branch" Militia ASAP! Get your Sheriff involved!
3).We either get the Constitution FOR The united states people, of, by and for all Americans, on American soil or we start arresting people for violations of our Natural and God given rights, And;
4).We bring back the original 13th Amendment, (The TONA), and demand a return to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 restrictions; And here's what the new Amendment should say:
"A Representative ratio shall exist in Congress, not to exceed , in any form up or down or form any ratio that is not ONE REPRESENTATIVE FOR EVERY THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE! This means that Each Representative in The House of Representatives shall have NO MORE THAN Thirty Thousand Constituents. Period! For just one example; to make it clear, this further means that as of the last census taken for this purpose, Pennsylvania with a population of 12.8 Million people, would now be required to elect 426 people to this position, redistricting to be decided by location as needed to best facilitate the convenience of the Constituents in each district, respectively."
"This rational apportionment of 30,000/1 as a privilege, from the people; to the government, shall never be altered in form, either up or down."
Pennsylvania currently has a paltry 18 people speaking for the 12.8 million people inhabiting the soil at this time. This IS the problem with EVERYTHING IN AMERICA TODAY! I mean come on! Eighteen people instead of 426? This is a No-Brainer!
Who is serious about this? Let me know if you want to start printing flyers and business cards and start canvassing your neighborhood and city council meetings and Representative's Town Hall meetings with the right materials that would have to include THIS article!
Note: We at Friends of Liberty cannot make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information.
Don't forget to follow the Friends Of Liberty on Facebook and our Page also Pinterest , Twitter , Tumblr and Google Plus PLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favorite social networks.
Friends of Liberty is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the mission to Educate, protect and defend individual freedoms and individual rights.
Support the Trump Presidency and help us fight Liberal Media Bias. Please LIKE and SHARE this story on Facebook or Twitter.
WE THE PEOPLE
TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Join The Resistance and Share This Article Now!
I have LONG said--Convention of STATES for TERM LIMITS, is the single BEST way to make a huge statement to Congress that WE THE PEOPLE are GOVERNMENT, not politicians whose loyalties are POCKETS, POWER and PARTY---THEIRS!!! There is NO ambiguity in a COS--it MUST be called for on a SINGLE or limited issue to be dealt with--Balanced Budget Amendment and TERM LIMITS--without WE the people forcing this on Congress--WE will never get THEIR hands out of OUR pockets, OUR business and OUR lives! They will NOT give us either the Balanced Budget Amendment that LIMITS THEIR SPENDING of OUR MONEY or TERM LIMITS that invokes a LIMIT ON THEIR TIME IN OFFICE!
‼️️ ♻️ PLEASE SHARE ♻️ ‼️️