Pay For Play

Note: For anyone who is interested, I’ll be conducting a blogging workshop next Thursday at the Indiana Writers’ Center. Here’s the information.


I’m hesitant to attribute it to candor–it’s more likely a belief that they are untouchable–but members of the Trump Administration have evidently given up trying to hide their unethical behaviors. A recent example: Mick Mulvaney, the current director of OMB (whose second job is overseeing/dismantling Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) publicly admitted that the only people he willingly met with as a member of Congress were constituents and donors.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney said, according to a New York Times report this week. At the top of the hierarchy were his constituents, he explained, adding, “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.

According to the Daily Beast, Mulvaney no longer has constituents, so now he’s just taking meetings with lobbyists and companies who financed his past political campaigns.

Pay-for-play Mulvaney is right at home in today’s shameless GOP.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson is a millionaire. He recently told a group of high school students that healthcare and food are a privilege, not a right according to MSNBC, and quoted Rand Paul to the effect that if health care were a right, then doctors and other health providers would be “forced” to provide people with that right. (Sort of like slavery…)

And if you’ve wondered why so many Congressional Republicans have been downplaying Russia’s obvious influence on Trump, there’s this:

A close look at public campaign finance reports reveals a network of Russian oligarchs increasingly contributing to top Republican leadership in recent years, according to the Dallas News. And thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United in 2010, the donations are perfectly legal.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that McConnell is identified as one of those benefitting from Russian largesse.

Needless to say, these paragons of public service don’t take kindly to admonitions about their obligations to the “least of us.” Despite their near-constant insistence that they are pious Christians, and despite their efforts to impose their particular brand of Christianity on the rest of us, they sure get prickly when a genuine Christian engages in even the mildest biblical truth-telling.

Case in point: Ostentatiously Catholic Paul Ryan abruptly dismissed the Catholic House Chaplain–a job that James Madison didn’t think should exist–after the chaplain offered a prayer that offended Ryan during the tax “reform” debate.

The sudden resignation of the chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, shocked members of both parties. He had served in the role since he was nominated in 2011 by Speaker John A. Boehner, a fellow Catholic. In an interview, Father Conroy was categorical: His departure was not voluntary.

“I was asked to resign, that is clear,” Father Conroy said. As for why, he added, “that is unclear.”…Father Conroy said he received the news from Mr. Ryan’s chief of staff. “The speaker would like your resignation,” Father Conroy recalled being told. He complied.

Father Conroy’s prayer had included a line asking that legislators be mindful of the ways their actions might affect the poor–a despicable display of compassion that evidently incurred the wrath of Ayn Rand’s most devoted disciple.

Commenters to this blog frequently remind others to “follow the money.” It’s good advice when the question at hand requires determining why such-and-such happened, or why so-and-so is taking a particular position.

Today’s GOP makes it unnecessary to follow the money. It isn’t just Trump. These plutocrats and would-be plutocrats are utterly transparent about the role money plays in their deliberations, their policies and their behaviors.

It’s what they really worship.


  1. The political history of this country, is certainly a mix of the “Profiles in Courage” and the “Jerks in Washington” folks. We know that most people do not really fall in to either of these types completely, and the various scandals of the public servants who have fallen by the wayside over the years did so because of human selfishness in matters of money and sexual temptation.
    But now we are seeing that unethical behaviors are planned and used as a matter of ideology, and those are issues of POWER.
    THIS is the moral corruption the nation faces from the Congressional and Executive leadership we are now saddled with :: resulting in actions which have no ethical or even a simple type of corrupt/selfish rationale. When political goals, policies, and actions are set up to starve the hungry, lie without reason, and to codify their religious heresy as law, we are dealing with evil, and that’s where the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike is now taking us.

  2. Trump brought about the attention to the Trump/Putin/Russia connections prior to and throughout his presidential campaign; why is he or anyone else in that administration surprised at the attention and investigation it is now getting? Talk about “Play For Pay”; how much is this Russian investigation costing us; beginning with the vital on-going Robert Mueller ever-expanding investigation and the Republican Senate and House pseudo-investigations which quickly ended.

    The Trump/Stormy “Play For Pay” is deliberately being pushed to, and maintained in, the forefront as a distraction. His claim of not knowing about the $130,000 payoff for her silence is not believed by the thinking public; whoever paid or reimbursed the amount is beside the point – it was paid to keep the “Play” out of his campaign. Semantics are important in this chaotic issue; “he said/she said” should be closely heeded, if you watched the aired “60 Minutes” interview with Stormy you understand. He said he didn’t have an “affair”; she said he is technically correct when he states they “did not sleep together, there was no sleeping involved”. If what she stated in the actual interview is the truth; there was no “affair”, it was a one-night-stand. Their second meeting 6 years later consisted of the two of them watching a full episode of “Shark Attack”, conversing and her refusal when he asked for sex. Hardly worth $130,000 no matter what went on or didn’t happen.

    Is the Republican “Play For Pay” returning the 1972 local requirement to sign a Loyalty Oath to work for the City of Indianapolis in the Mayor Richard Lugar administration? I was in the midst of a divorce, with five children, a husband playing games with child support and NEEDED that job. The Loyalty Oath to “work for and support the Republican party” meant they told me when and where to work the Elect Nixon campaign and the support requirement to “donate” 2% of my $64.00 weekly paycheck in cash by the end of each payday. These facts were not public knowledge; what is going on behind the scenes in the Trump/Pence administration…and locally regarding “Play For Pay” at all levels?


  4. I notice my turnaround of “Pay For Play” to “Play For Pay”; an abuse of the semantics I referred to in my comments. Sorry; but I do see them as resulting in the same end and we are all paying for the action.

  5. the write up,said paragons of public service,more like parasites,of public service..if health care and food is a privlege as mentioned,then we have become economic slaves to our buddies,(they are no longer elected) on the hill…have we become numb also? when vietnam was at full tilt,, the radio played and the local dj moved the momentum for protests,dissent,and street gatherings,after king george the second,dissent disappeared,and as we see,and not hear,the media has chosen to follow the corruption. if we the people are to just sit and watch this,then we have ourseleves to blame,,,,,if we follow the recent teachers walkouts,were doing what is left of our freedoms.. social media has only saddled us to hide behind suckerburgs framework of public discourse,when we should be making a visable standing in the streets. this is not a secret,its our very own country being distroyed by corruption in congress..outright lies in our face,and we are accepting it

  6. What Marge said ^^^^^^^! 🙂

    I know we have pro-Democratic Party elements who read this blog, but the DNC is absolutely no better than the GOP. The DNC is more adept at lying because they are talking to “more educated citizens”.

    “pay for play” has been the law of the land since our inception. More civilized countries would throw those who bribe government officials into jail. Some countries would hang them before the trial.

    Please don’t tell us that the GOP or Trump are the only criminal elements in D.C. — you insult our intelligence.

    Obama was a fraud. Bill Clinton was a fraud. How did they get elected to the highest public position in our country??

    Both were wholly owned entities of Wall Street…the banks who caused a global economic crisis Bill helped create and Obama bailed out.

    Buy Nomi Prin’s book…

    Our Main Stream Media won’t spend days on this exploding info because they are owned by advertisers. How dare they hold their funders accountable!! (pay to play)

    When I read when Sheila declares both political parties a corrupt byproduct of capitalism, then I’ll know we are making progress. Focusing on just the GOP is naive.

    From the greatest mind who occupied our planet in 1949…Albert Einstein:

    “Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

  7. If we are honest with ourselves we should agree with Todd, both political parties are corrupt as he asserts. It hurts but it’s true. “Pay for play” is a euphemism for plain corruption.

  8. One man should be held responsible for the lack of Single Payer receiving a seat to discuss health care options back in 2009. This person was Democrat Max Baucus. Per Wiki –

    Baucus said that “single payer was not an option on the table.”

    Baucus has been criticized for his ties to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and was one of the largest beneficiaries in the Senate of campaign contributions from these industries.

    From 2003-08, Baucus received $3,973,485 from the health sector, including $852,813 from pharmaceutical companies, $851,141 from health professionals, $784,185 from the insurance industry and $465,750 from HMOs/health services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
    If I may use a Star Trek term – The Prime Directive of Pay to Play, is to make certain only the payers have a seat at the table.

    The arrogance of the “Pay to Play System” today is that Mick Mulvaney can admit it exists and exactly how it operates and there no repercussions.

    The so called News Networks, CNN, and MSDNC who devote all day 24/7 coverage to allegations about collusion between the Russians and The Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) and Stormy Daniels pay offs, ignore Mick Mulvaney comments. Mulvaney’s comments about how our American Political System works is passed over quickly. Even though most Americans know, the American Oligarchs, and Lobbyists control our political system the “News Networks” who are a part of the establishment would prefer your attention is diverted elsewhere.

    Parliament of Whores written in 1991 by P. J. O’Rourke, it was on target about the pay to play and influence of money.

  9. Todd,
    Your continuous attacks on the DNC and past Democratic Presidents continue to nauseate. If you are so set against these entities, why don’t you offer solutions instead of just spouting inflammatory words like “fraud”?

    Obama and Clinton were NOT frauds. There were participants in a flawed system that WE THE PEOPLE allowed to develop. WE are the frauds, because we took no responsible action. WE are the fools who keep sending money to corrupt organizations. WE are the fakers because we didn’t protest Citizens United v. FEC. WE have allowed this banana republic corruption to evolve into this cesspool of Republicanism.

    What is the organization(s) you belong to or front that is active in fixing this dystopia you keep telling us about?

  10. “I know we have pro-Democratic Party elements who read this blog, but the DNC is absolutely no better than the GOP. The DNC is more adept at lying because they are talking to “more educated citizens”.”

    Todd; you and others who repeatedly post comments such as the one above are not helping the situation…you are discouraging people who are already doubtful about voting in any election for any candidate. We KNOW there are serious problems within the party; we KNOW that change must come and must come soon. I read that last sentence as an oxymoron; if we are more educated, the DNC should be aware we would recognize their lies.

    “One man should be held responsible for the lack of Single Payer receiving a seat to discuss health care options back in 2009.”

    Monotonous; being old, deaf and disabled, I have given single-payer coverage (other than Medicare) a great deal of thought the past few years. This is NOT something this government could/would or should attempt to put in place at once. Before the ACA was available but aware it was coming, insurance companies, health care providers and Big Pharma began raising rates, co-pays and cost of medications. Enacting singer-payer would bring about the end of massive donations from insurance companies, health care providers and Big Pharma to their supporting candidates and lobbyists would only approach those against it. Maybe – MAYBE – a gradual changeover could be promoted but I seriously doubt even that would work. The loss of profits for corporations would end it before it could begin. As for the bitching about increased health care coverage costs due to the ACA; insurance companies and health care providers were REQUIRED to provide more health care for those turned away for years, when you expect to get more you have to expect to pay more. Having been denied treatment, I am aware of this. The rate of increase was, is and will forever be a problem for anyone needing health care on any level.

  11. Of course the real tragedy of this dark, dark episode in American history is that there’s indication that dispite this race between incompetence and corruption that we’ve been fully aware of from the beginning of Agent Orange’s campaign there’s a good chance that democracy will not stop it.

    We now have an alliance of two dark forces. Those who refuse to accept the reality of what’s going on and those who do but are waiting for their own power to overtake the power of the former group. Fractous D’s allied with fractious R’s against return to imperfect freedom.

    We have reset as a country from democratic freedom to passion for power just like the Middle Eastern countries that we use to practice our militarism on to the financial delight of so many oligarchs.

    We aren’t in Kansas anymore but Kabul.

  12. Todd, I happen to agree with your comment @ 8:22 am. You seemed to have touched the third rail with your comment.

    The facts are certainly out there the Establishment Corporate Democratic Party has been in a long retreat since Bill Clinton. What remains of the Corporate Democratic Party are content to be Vichy Democrats or Enclave Democrats, i.e., safe districts for them.

    Jo Ann, as far as single payer is concerned, I take my lesson from JFK, who said in Sept 1962:

    “We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    That was Rocket Science JFK was talking about. Literally, we were going where no one had gone before, with technologies that had to be researched, tried and tested. By July 1969 Neil Armstrong stepped on to the moon’s surface and returned again safely.

    As far as Single Payer it is Not Rocket Science. It does exist already with Medicare and Medicaid. Further more Western Europe, Canada, Japan and other countries have Universal Health Care. Single Payer or Universal Health Care could not be implemented over night.

    H.R.676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act has 122 Co-Sponsors – All Democrats – Nancy Pelosi’s name is absent from the list of co-sponsors.

  13. I think that if we ever get our act together and replace DC incompetence and corruption there are two changes absolutely required to prepare us for the future that will certainly embrace us – campaign finance reform and get out from under the huge competitive anchor of paying 2X for health care compared to every one of our global trading partners.

    Part of the reason for that second one is that now we are forced to support two huge industries, health care delivery and health care insurance absolutely required to avoid health care delivery becoming a privilege of wealth only.

    We don’t have to continue that burden, the alternative being do what every other country in the developed world does, socialize medicine, no insurance required. Let the tax code replace the entire insurance industry.

    Of course to catch up to the rest of the world we must first get both industries out of DC and the only way to do that it is through campaign finance reform to remove the reason that they are there in the first place.

  14. “As far as Single Payer it is Not Rocket Science. It does exist already with Medicare and Medicaid. Further more Western Europe, Canada, Japan and other countries have Universal Health Care. Single Payer or Universal Health Care could not be implemented over night.”

    Monotonous; I fully understand what you are saying and I agree that single-payer health care is the ideal but…I say again, insurance companies, health care providers and Big Pharma are never going to give up their total control over their rising profits which is allowed by the elected officials they have bought and paid for. Clarence Thomas and his power on SCOTUS is a primary example; his wife is getting rich through her health care connection/ownership. Where Universal Health Care is provided in those other countries; did the insurance companies, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies have the financial stronghold on those governments which is the problem here? Primary physicians no longer practice medicine; they are highly educated and well paid information and referral professionals with the ability to write prescriptions. THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. There is also the issue that Citizens United would need to be repealed before those corporations (and all others) could be stopped from buying elected officials. As with all issues here; follow the money. This country has waited too long to expect single-payer health care anytime in the near future.

  15. JoAnn, when I was learning to fly an essential lesson was first, fly the damn plane. When energencies happen no matter how dire, if you aren’t controlling flight, it’s going to end badly. Continuing in control at least gives you a chance for a happier ending.

    That’s the way that I feel about the Republican coup
    In DC. If we fix that we have a chance. If we don’t there can be no happy ending ever.

  16. Pete; to continue the piloting equation, we need elected officials with leadership abilities to equal Sully’s piloting skills. Instead; they cannot even “fasten seat belts”.

  17. Sheila, some of us suffer from age related editing insufficiency. People such as us are unable to spot errors until the trigger has been pulled. It’s a terrible handicapping condition that can be mistaken for stupidity. Can you contribute to a virtual cure?

  18. ML,

    The third rail will electrocute everyone. The real third rail is the mindless drivel presented by those who think health care, adequate housing and food, and a decent education is a privilege. They are the dissemblers of civilization. They are the enemies of progress. They are the fools who are whoring for the corporate/Republican mantras of greed, avarice and bigotry.

    Todd is very smart, learned and obviously educated, but he throws arrows at everything that doesn’t fit his particular agenda. That is how Democrats end up being so fractious and easy prey for a well-organized, lock-step fascist movement like today’s Republicanism. He doesn’t speak for anyone but himself and ignores those who try to bring the patchwork quilt of decent people together to defeat the mindlessness of Republicanism.

  19. Todd is right. The only people that seemingly object to Todd’s comments are those that depend upon the DNC and DCCC to fill their rice bowls. Clinton and Obama flawed? Absolutely,of course their apologists want to blame the “system”. If you’re not going to consistently criticize governing malfeasance because of party bias,you will have no credibility.

    Solutions? According to the verified actions of the DNC & DCCC,suing Wikileaks,Russia and gaming the primaries against genuine progressive candidates seems to be their chosen solution. How can anyone support such deplorable organizational behavior? Todd’s not the problem,the DNC and the DCCC and its sycophants are the problem.

  20. Pete:” Fractous D’s allied with fractious R’s against return to imperfect freedom.”

    Hmmmm. More rhetoric.

    This bears repeating because the following is reality:

    But now, incredibly enough, a bipartisan group of six lawmakers, led by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., is proposing a new AUMF that would greatly expand who the president can place in indefinite military detention, all in the name of restricting presidential power. If the Corker-Kaine bill becomes law as currently written, any president, including Donald Trump, could plausibly claim extraordinarily broad power to order the military to imprison any U.S. citizen, captured in America or not, and hold them without charges essentially forever..

    Hillary Clinton’s choice for VP is among those wanting to give Agent Orange more power. In fact, it’s power that can be appropriately described as despotic.. And you people scold Todd? Unbelievable.

  21. All you really need to know about Mike Pence:

    In 1997, a young father named Kenneth Cooper was wrongfully convicted of armed robbery in Elkhart, Indiana and sentence to 40 years in state prison. Soon questions began to arise about his guilt. Eventually, witnesses recanted their testimony and DNA evidence cleared him of being at the crime scene. After ten years of incarceration, prosecutors moved to have Cooper released from prison and the Indiana Board of Pardons recommended that Indiana’s Governor, Mike Pence, grant Cooper a pardon. Pence, fearing this humane act might tarnish his reputation as law-and-order hardass, refused.

    Fast forward two years. Mike Pence was in Tempe, Arizona earlier this week at a campaign event meant to celebrate the passage of Trump’s tax bill, when into the room walked Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff, who was pardoned last year by Trump after being convicted of contempt of a federal court for mistreatment of suspected undocumented immigrants. Pence pointed excitedly to Arpaio and praised him as called him “a great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law, who spent a lifetime in law enforcement.”

    + Meet the Ancien Regime!

    Democratic Leadership

    Schumer 67
    Durbin 73
    Stabenow 68
    Feinstein 84

    Pelosi 78
    Hoyer 78
    Clyburn 77

    Leading Presidential Candidates
    Biden 75
    Sanders 76
    Warren 68

    Is it any wonder millennials are fleeing the party?

  22. William,

    Your brush is too broad and your views too narrow to start casting aspersions about anyone’s opinions.

  23. Actually, the worst government money can buy.

    Warren Gamaleil Harding and Albert Bacon Fall must be both looking down and shaking their heads at what these people have gotten away so far with so far compared to the outcome of the “Teapot Dome Scandal” of Harding’s Presidency of 1921-1923 where Fall became the first former Cabinet Secretary to go to prison.

    The crooks that work for Trump, exemplified by Mulvaney, Pruitt, and the others, have them beat by miles and miles in regard to overt, right-in-your-face corruption. The words “despicable” and “disgusting” have both essentially lost their import totally thanks to this heinous and vile spectacle in supposed “governance”.

  24. It’s an election fact that votes can only be cast for something or someone. These folks against everything are therefore not part of the upcoming election process except for the virtual votes they cast for no change is better.

  25. Late to respond on the comments on this topic. For all the true “Idealists” out there:

    There is no “perfect” human being, candidate for office, political party, elected official, or government. We are all “flawed” in some small, or perhaps substantial way.

    If you’re waiting for and will only vote for the “perfect,” “unflawed” candidate for office or political party, who/which agrees with and supports every one of “your” “must haves,” with any realistic chance of actually defeating a Republican candidate and being elected in November, our experiment in representative democracy will have totally failed (not that it isn’t in serious trouble at the moment), and the plutocracy, we all rail against here, will go effectively unchallenged and their victory will be nearly complete and perhaps irreversible.

    So pout, sit on your hands on the sidelines. Refuse to vote for the only candidates, who will be on your ballots this coming November, with any realistic chance of throwing the so-called Republicans out of power in Congress (and statehouses too!). Because those candidates will be, without a doubt, flawed and imperfect Democrats, some of whom will be beholden to Wall Street, Big Pharma, etc., and might not support single payer (universal) health care or other Progressive policies.

    See how that turns out for you (and the rest of us too), if you can convince enough other people to join you sitting on their hands and not voting for Democrat candidates this fall.

    Hold your nose! Avert your eyes! Go to the polls (or mail in your ballot) this November, and vote for every Democratic candidate for every office. You don’t even have to tell anyone else that you voted a straight Democratic ticket. Tell your friends you voted for the Green Party, Libertarian, or Socialist party candidates, if you must. No one will ever know.

    Perhaps we, as a Country, won’t be a lot better off with a November Blue Wave. But we can at least put a few pebbles in the path of the Trump train that is currently roaring down the tracks threatening our Country at this very moment. And YES. Even if the Democrats can take back control of Congress and some Statehouses in November, we are going to have to work even harder to hold their feet to the fire to push forward a Progressive agenda. That won’t be easy either.

  26. Unfortunately,the pouting has been conducted by the Democrats. In fact,this blog could be appropriately titled The Daily Pout. The apparatchiks are still pouting from 2016 as they will continue to pout after more losses. How do I know this? By your impecunious and condescending demand that I vote the same candidates that you support. Blind Party (Corporate Organization) Allegiance—as if we’re Scientologists. Your comment resonates with privilege ,arrogance and entitlement. Having said that,how did that attitude work out for the Democratic Party last time? It didn’t and it will not in the future. Because that demand of yours is backed by nothing substantial.

    As of this week, I’m no longer a Democrat, I will no longer support an ineffectual (probably by choice) party courting White-Flight Republicans. I’m now an Independent and without Independent voters the Democrats will be left behind. I’ll never vote for a Republican,but I will stay away from the polls if the Democrats are unwilling to give me a good reason to support them beyond such vapid canards and platitudes such as OMG Russians and Trump is a Despot. Your condescending post will serve as a future reminder to myself why I jumped from a sinking ship. They were given a Blue Wave in 08 and they willfully chose to piss it away. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. They have not earned a second chance. Whatever happens will happen.

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