Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Jack Abramoff, the high-powered Republican lobbyist, has pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy to bribe public officials. (He also pleaded to tax evasion; I'll let that one go.) Okay, fine. But what bugs me about this kind of story is that there's a implied standard of conduct that the illegal activity has supposedly deviated from. The scale of Abramoff's activities might have been extraordinary and his e-mail trail unusually contemptuous of the clients he was bilking. But when you consider that the state exists precisely to transfer wealth from producers to nonproducers, what did Abramoff actually do that was unusual besides grab too much too brazenly? As Michael Kinsley once said, it's not the illegal activity in Washington that is so shocking. It's the legal activity.
Posted by Sheldon Richman at 6:16 AM