Fresh from more than three and a half years in prison for crimes including bribery and fraud, former Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff is pushing a new book that offers suggestions on how to clean up the system.
The Internet is alive with the proposals of the man in the black hat, who says that he held sway over 100 Members of Congress:
1. Shut down campaign contributions and gifts from lobbyists
2. End campaign contributions from recipients from federal funds
3. Slam shut the revolving door by prohibiting anyone who has ever been a Member of Congress or a member of the Congressional staff from ever working for "any company, organization, or association which lobbies the federal government"--Abramoff says the ban on working must include what is called "consulting," and he announces that the best route to influence was to promise high-paying jobs to the high-ranking staff members of Members of Congress
4. Institute term limits for Members of Congress that would limit Senators to 12 years in office and Representatives to six years in office
5. Ban Members of Congress from proposing, promoting, or perhaps even voting on projects that bring federal money to their districts or states
6. Have state legislatures--not voters--elect U.S. Senators
One commentator points out that Abramoff's reform agenda might be partly motivated by an implicit suggestion that the problem is a whole worm-ridden system, not just the famously rotten apple that he is. There are obviously a lot of arguments for and against each of these proposals, but Abramoff's publicity blitz for his book--including an appearance on the TV program "60 Minutes" this Sunday--insures that they will get some attention.