Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) gave a historic speech on the corporate influence in government as seen through the "regulatory capture" of government regulatory agencies by corporations:
We must act in defense of the integrity of this great government of ours, which has brought such light to the world, such freedom and equality to our country. We cannot allow this government - that is a model around the world, that inspires people to risk their lives and fortunes to come to our shores - we cannot allow any element of this government to become the tool of corporate power, the avenue of corporate influence, the puppet of corporate tentacles.
This American government of ours should never, never be on its knees before corporate power, no matter how strong. It should never be in the thrall of corporate wealth no matter how vast. This American government of ours should never give the American citizen reason to question whose interests are being served. Never.
In this complex world of ours, Mr. President, government must protect us in remote and specialized precincts in the economy. In those remote precincts, few people are watching, but big money is made. We must be able to trust our government, both in plain view in front of us, and in corners far from sight, to be serving always the public interest, not doing the secret bidding of special interests; of corporate interests, because that's where the big money is at stake.
It was a remarkably clear presentation of the problem left for the current administration and for the American people -- the accidents waiting to happen and the catastrophes already affecting our planet and our lives to such an extreme level, while those who benefited from the advantage they took through "captive regulators" live well and without relative consequence.
Whitehouse proposes the attorney general step in and clean house of all regulatory agencies to insure the integrity of the personnel to make sure they are not taken over by corporate interests. Given the disasters that have happened and have yet to unfold, it seems the responsible thing to do.
A full transcript of Senator Whitehouse's speech is available at this link.
A live feed panel of twelve cameras on the Gulf floor (may load slowly) is available at this link.
For further information: The Environmentalist.
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