Though no longer in office, former U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks is still speaking out against government corruption and the influence of special interest groups.
Brooks appeared on the Scott Beason Radio Show on Thursday to explain how government, both state and federal, serve at the whims of well-funded lobbyists.
"Right now, Congress is run by special interests. It's their money that finances the campaigns, and they have to have rules in place that will enable them to get their special interest legislation passed that they can not get passed if it's stand-alone," Brooks said. "… If you can change the rules, which is what these 20 individuals were bravely fighting for [in the U.S. House Speaker race], then you have diminished the ability of special interests to get what they want, which in turn means that you've enhanced the ability of Congress to do what's in the best interest of America and regular Americans."
The rules package negotiated by Republicans in the U.S. House might help loosen some of the special interests' control, but the problem has been around for too long to go away without a fight. For now, Brooks said selling out to lobbyists is the rule for congressmen, not the exception.
"These special interests who control Washington, they do it with money. They are the ones who come up with the money that allows you to, say, purchase your committee chairmanship, that costs a minimum of $1 million… So to be a powerful congressman, you have to come up with that million bucks," Brooks said. "The special interest will provide it provided that you do what the special interests dictate. What the special interest dictate is, by definition, is special for one small group of people to the detriment to the country as a whole. And so they can't pass legislation that is just that one subject matter because congressmen and senators would be defeated in their next election for having supported that one piece of legislation that was bad for America. So you have to throw everything and the kitchen sink in these massive bills because that's the way you pay back the special interests."
"That's what I mean when I say it's a very corrupt process that takes basically good people and then corrupts them, and unfortunately, the more people want to have power in Washington D.C., the more corrupt they are because the system requires that they be corrupt in order to get those powerful positions."
Brooks said it's a "common attitude" among legislators at both the state and federal levels to go along with special interests to get reelected so they can later do the "good things" they were elected to do in the first place.
"The [Alabama State] Legislature is the same kind of problem. It's controlled by special interests. You have special interests that compete with each other on both sides of the aisle. But nonetheless, the public's interest is second fiddle most of the time in Washington and in Montgomery."
Brooks said it's up to citizens to put pressure on the government to do what's right if the issue of special interest influence is ever to be solved.
"What you're seeing are the symptoms of the disease. Bad legislation is a symptom of the disease… but the real disease is that the public is so easily misled by money, which means that there's a heightened focus on money, which means there's a heightened focus on getting the money if you're a candidate, which means you have to sell out to special interest groups."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.