There can be no doubt that too many special interests have too much access to decision-makers in Washington, D.C. But it is the height of absurdity to pretend that only registered lobbyists wield undue influence.
The mainstream media seems to willfully ignore what corporations and other moneyed interests do to get what they want in Washington. As a result of this lack of media interest, Americans remain in the dark.
It's no surprise that American corporations spend billions of dollars each year on lobbying, trying to gain favorable treatment from legislators. What some may find a bit unnerving is the industry that's leading the pack in these efforts.
Just like the debt limit negotiations and super committee process that helped cause it, the so-called "fiscal cliff" of expiring laws is creating another round of secretive negotiations among our political leaders.
During his Sixty Minutes interview, I was not surprised to see that Abramoff was his usual likeable and articulate self. I was surprised, however, that Abramoff responded to his interviewer, Leslie Stahl, with almost "junkie pride."
Very few of my Senate colleagues from the 1970s became lobbyists. By the time I retired from office in the later 1980s, not only former senators but also their wives and sons and daughters were joining or forming lobbying firms.