Posted by | August 5, 2014 00:04 | Filed under: Contributors Opinion Politics Tengrain Top Stories

111220_steve_latourette_apSteve LaTourette discusses the grifters in Congress:

Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington. My former House colleague Chris Chocola is pocketing a half-million dollars a year heading the Club for Growth; same for Matt Kibbe heading up FreedomWorks (and I don’t think Kibbe’s salary includes the infamous craft beer bar that FreedomWorks donors ended up paying for). The Tea Party Patriots pay their head, Jenny Beth Martin, almost as much. These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can “fix it.” Of course, in the ultimate con, the always extreme and often amateurish candidates these groups back either end up losing to Democrats or they come to Washington and actually make the process even more dysfunctional.

…which (to use a Bill Clinton-ism) takes some brass coming from LaTourette, who famously followed the trail Newt and Callista Gingrich blazed: he left his first wife after having an affair with an ex-staffer who became a lobbyist, who lobbied LaTourette to whom she was (then) married. LaTourette then left Congress to start a SuperPac. It’s a DC love story.

So it seems like LaTourette might be something of an expert in the field of grifters and slippery slopes, and now—as a sideline—he has picked up the throwing rocks at glass houses trade.

But, all that said, LaTourette has a point. The religion-imposing Tea Partiers, doing their Elmer Gantry best, are different from the LaTourettes. Bachmann, Gohmert, King et al are grifting their constituents for donations, while the old school conmen (like LaTourette) are grifting on behalf of their clients to get tax money from the Feds. His attempt to differentiate himself from the others seems like arguing over a shade of beige paint at the store: they are all grifters.

By: Tengrain

Fully caffeinated with twice the sugar, unabashedly liberal. Award-winning Americans United blogger, blogs at Mock Paper Scissors, and sometimes at Crooks and Liars.

You can follow @Tengrain on Twitter, or you might see him enjoying coffee somewhere in Seattle at any given moment of the day.

  • I am a die-hard liberal.I have to ask my fellow Democrats though, how can you delude yourself? Don’t you get the same panicked daily emails that I do from people claiming to be from Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden saying that if i don’t send $25.00 right away the President is going to be impeached or James Earl Ray is going to get a national holiday? It’s all a grift and unless we get money out of politics and move to public funding of campaigns it’s just going to get worse. There is a sucker born every minute and no one cares if he is a lefty or a righty when it comes time to take his money.

    • Dwendt44

      I get calls three times a day from the DNC. I don’t answer as I have and use caller I.D.. I also get a couple of desperate sounding e-mails form Al Franken, Joe Biden, etc…. I don’t respond to them either. I give a bit to the state Democrat Party, as Gov. Walker is really messing the state up.

      • I donate to the Democrat party too but I do realize that the Tea Party is not the sole grifter in politics and don’t delude myself into thinking that somehow what they do is any different than what we do on the left.

    • viva_democracy

      I think the difference is, there are many that are fine with being grifters because they’re in it for themselves and there are those that have no choice because the game is rigged and either you join it or sit out because if you don’t have the cash, you can’t compete-and that’s due to how our dumb-a$$ laws are set up.
      Do I think every Democrat has clean hands? No. But I know many more of them would vote to get money out of politics as opposed to the other side, who would vote to keep it.
      I really think it’s going to be up to us, the people, to get money out of politics. I think politics is so corrupt right now, the cogs are just gonna keep moving full-steam. We need to do something on the grass roots level. We need to get loud about it. We need to change it.
      I only give money to the politicians I would and do vote for (I say “would” because not all of them represent me, but I agree with their views).

    • anothertoothpick

      We can thank the Citizens United decision for all these ubiquitous fund raising emails.

      Representatives spend…by far…more time now than ever………….fundraising.