Cliff Harvey originally shared this post:
Lawrence Lessig interviews Jack Abramoff about the US political system, institutional corruption, and strategies for reform.
I knew this was going to be great immediately based on the participants. Lawrence Lessig studies political corruption at Harvard and has been advocating a proposal to soften the dependence of the political system on outside money (See: Rootstriking ), while Jack Abramoff is arguably one of the most effective (former) lobbyists in the business. He did hard time for some abuses, but as they make clear, the legal restrictions are so loose its almost hard to imagine the need to break them.
I thought this conversation was extraordinarily fascinating, especially for some of the specific insights into the actual mechanisms of power used by this class of people – "that world" as Jack calls it – and also because this is exactly the kind of insight that needs to be accounted for in order to craft a smart strategy to reign in the corrosive dependence of politicians on private money that has denied them of any real autonomy.
Jack seems pretty genuinely reflective, ashamed and serious about trying to help contain the damage done by people like himself. I think we'd be wise to hear what he has to say.
The meta-organization seeking to address this key structural issue is called United Republic, which incorporates several smaller organizations. I'd definitely encourage giving them a look, and your email: http://unitedrepublic.org/