In Alaska we had a group of politicos who chuckled as they dubbed themselves the “CBC,” which stands for “Corrupt Bastards Club.” But it was no laughing matter. I, and many others, took them on. We won. When I served as chairman of our state’s Oil and Gas Commission, I reported on the cronyism of the chair of my own Party, who had been appointed by our governor to that same energy regulating commission. (Click to see a reporter’s reaction to a short Newt Gingrich interview on the matter.) The whistle blowing resulted in him receiving the largest ethics fine in the state’s history. But that was just the tip of the oily iceberg. The FBI investigated Alaskan lawmakers for taking bribes from the oil industry in exchange for votes favorable to that industry, and politicos ended up in jail.* The lawmakers actually called themselves the Corrupt Bastards Club and even emblazoned the CBC initials on baseball caps they gifted each other – that’s how untouchable they believed they were. But average, concerned citizens said, “enough is enough,” and shook things up. Though some of the CBC members ended up in horizontal pinstripes, much of the compromised party apparatus stayed in power.
I’ll never forget standing at the podium during our state GOP convention and asking delegates to stand up with me and oust the status quo because the political environment had to change for Alaska to progress toward her manifest destiny as a more productive—and ethical—state to help secure our union. Only about half stood up. The rest looked around gauging the political winds and sat on their thumbs. Our federal delegation was incensed at me. Their influence resulted in much of the party machine staying put, but I’ll never be sorry I fought it.
Today, doesn’t it seem like we have a Corrupt Bastards Club in D.C.? On steroids? It might not be as oily and obvious as its Alaska counterpart, but it’s just as compromised because its members, too, are indifferent to what their actions mean for We the People.