Power corrupts - duh
The decision by uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to plead guilty to three charges of fraud, public corruption and tax evasion has Washington on tenterhooks. Although Abramoff donated most of the money he made lobbying to Republicans, he gave money, trips and donations from clients to Democrats as well. Anybody who wants to operate in Washington has to deal with both parties.
Beyond the question of whether more aides or elected officials will be implicated once Abramoff starts talking to prosecutors is a larger issue. Whenever government grows and sticks its regulatory tentacles into new areas, it creates opportunities for corruption.
The activities that seem to have brought Abramoff down are illustrative. They revolved around charging Indian tribes large fees to promote their interests in gambling casinos. In some cases, he had religious leaders support state anti-gambling laws, perhaps thinking they were part of a moral crusade when, in fact, they were preventing competition for already established gambling interests.
The politicians' eternal desire to regulate anything that is lucrative created the opening for corrupt transactions that might or might not have been outright bribes. The more limited the government, the more limited the opportunities are for such egregious corruption.