One of the signs of corruption in the federal government is how many politicians leave Washington as multi-millionaires. Irrespective of how rich they were when they gain their office, they do very well after.

They also apparently find the people who put them into office of little interest. Many do not return to the state in which they were elected. Does anyone, for example, know where Tom Harkin lives?

The Obamas are our latest case in point. They bought a perfectly nice place near Washington for $8 million, but decided they also needed a summer home in a nicer neighborhood, and so purchased a $15 million house and acreage in Martha’s Vineyard. Neither place is culturally close to Illinois, but that is the point.

Most of this is done by selling influence. Michelle Obama was hired by the University of Chicago Medical Center when her husband’s political career took off. Her salary, plus perks, tripled to a third of a million dollars when he was elected to the Senate. Her position was so valuable it was not replaced when Barack Obama took the family to D.C. when he became president.

The couple now makes millions with book and speaking deals.

Al Gore claimed he had a net worth of less than $2 million when he ran for president. He was certainly not one of those greedy moneygrubbers epitomized by his opponent. Since pimping for climate change, he has dramatically increased his wealth. He helped create a firm that deals out money from a “sustainable-focused fund,” which supposedly controls over a billion dollars of assets.

Recently the firm invested $200 million in meat substitutes at a time when Gore is pushing for reducing meat consumption.

He can relax and plan the future for the rest of us in one of his three multimillion-dollar houses, one of which has been estimated to consume 25 times more energy than the average American home.

Then there is Joe Biden. There is not enough space here to outline the ways a politician and his family can use his office to make a little extra cash.

Biden’s son engineered extremely lucrative deals with both the Ukraine and China and was supposedly protected by Biden’s threats to withhold federal support to anyone thinking of investigating the deals.

It appears as if Biden’s brother was also involved in milking money using Biden’s political influence.

So why highlight these three Democrats? If these politicians are the enemies of greed and the fat cats on Wall Street, we can hardly imagine how greedy and corrupt other politicians must be.

Politicians go to Washington to “serve.” And they appear to have been served very well. All of which raises another question.

If a politician can get rich simply because they once had an office in D.C., does this mean the majority of “lawmakers” can be manipulated by influence, which obviously can be bought?

Does this not also indicate that much of what takes place in D.C. benefits our leaders while having little to do with the well-being of the country?

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Dennis Clayson is a marketing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


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