Follow The Money

Molly Ivins

As that great American, Deep Throat, never said, "Follow the money." (The line is by William Goldman, who wrote the movie, All the President's Men). Keeping your eye on the shell with the pea under it is not easy when the right-wing echo chamber continually takes up new chapters in the culture wars -- the dread case of the senator who didn't, in fact, say the United States is as bad as the late Soviet Union and the equally grave perennial constitutional amendment to prevent the menace of flag desecration.

Seriously, this administration is starting to look like that old television show in which contestants lined up their shopping carts in a grocery store and, on the signal, began running around throwing every valuable item they could find in their carts. Whoever grabbed the most high-priced items won. The contestants here and now are corporations and lobbyists. The amusing case of the congressman whose house was bought by the founder of a defense firm for $700,000 more than it was worth is being exceptionally well-reported by the congressman's hometown paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. You will not be amazed to learn the congressman in question (Randy Cunningham) oversees the committee that grants contracts to that very defense firm.

The story gets better by the day -- the congressman lives on a yacht in D.C. owned by the defense contractor, and employees of the defense firm say they were threatened with firing if they did not give to the company PAC. Well shut my mouth!