For the briefest of moments last week, politicians were just like real people.
Both taxpayer and elected official shared the same enemy: greedy, corporate robber barons on Wall Street. Hands were held, dandelion fields pranced through, enormous plates of spaghetti slurped simultaneously.
Finally, citizen and Senator were best friends forever, drunk on righteous indignation. The national villains were now Wall Street bankers taking and abusing taxpayer money in the form of TARP funds. Not politicians!
Unless of course, those same politicians were taking kickbacks from banks flush with public bailout money. But they wouldn't do that. We were going to guillotine AIG executives together!
But they did do that. The FEC recently found that the five top beneficiaries of TARP funds handed out $85, 300 to members of Congress, including some members who sat on the committee overseeing the distribution of TARP funds.
Says Brett Kappel, a Washington lawyer who monitors donations:
"This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions."
You can read more about this lovely debacle here.
It doesn't matter if corporate America is a subsidiary of the government, or if government is a subsidiary of corporate America — the same suits will be running things. It's almost as if "Senator" and "CEO" are interchangeable.
At least things are returning to normal.
Tags: AIG, Senate, TARP