Rich Galen

  • Any out-and-out bribery will be easy enough to prove. The danger is that every donation from every business interest to every Congressman and Senator will be scrutinized for any appearance of a quid pro quo (Latin for "Something for something else" which I looked up for you as my New Year's gift. Now, please do something for me - have someone you know sign up for their free copy of Mullings by clicking here).

  • See how easy this is?

  • You might say that you would have gotten someone to sign up even without my gift, but try to prove that negative, after the fact (post facto).

    Dear Mr. Mullings:

    Enough, already. We get it.

  • A Congressman or Senator (or a staffer) who runs into a lobbyist at a reception may agree to write a letter or support a bill without any mention, nor even any expectation, of a donation. But if a donation shows up on an FEC report shortly after said letter or vote, guess what the media and the opposition party are going to say: Bribery.

  • If this gathers steam - and I fully expect it will - then anyone accused of taking a donation in return for an official act will suffer greatly whether there is any official investigation or not.

  • A Congressman who may have won with 57% of the vote in 2004 (well above the magic 55% which denotes a "safe seat"), may find himself losing six or seven percentage points of support and in a struggle for survival.

  • Districts which might have drawn only token opposition - a local city councilman - may now be contested by a State Senator who shares a large percentage of the same constituency.

  • This is going to get ugly, because Democrats will claim this is another example of the "culture of corruption." Republicans will counter by - as described above - looking for any confluence of donations and votes by Democrats.

  • The Abramoff Effect might well echo through both cloakrooms in both chambers and have a dramatic impact on the elections this November.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to the WashPost piece; the Public Integrity Section's web page; an apropos newspaper masthead; a Mullfoto, and a Catchy Caption of the Day (which I suspect will keep me in hot water with the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices for the rest of the year).

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at