'District of Corruption' Indicts, Traces Roots of Permanent Political Class
It has been said that Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton’s lies about his affair with Monica Lewinsky respectively started and accelerated the distrust Americans have for both political parties, elected officials, its institutions, and the federal government.
But a new film, “District of Corruption,” directed by Stephen K. Bannon, exposes the real roots of the modern disenchantment with the political system -- the commercialization of government started by the Clinton administration, continued under George W. Bush's administration, and put on steroids by the Obama administration.
A Breitbart News/Judicial Watch Election Night exit poll found 85% were concerned about corruption in Washington. In addition, 71% of voters agreed that as government gets bigger, “the more opportunities it creates for possible corruption.” The poll found voters also distrusted both political parties to clean up Washington, fully aware that Washington politicians and their interests do not work for them anymore.
Since the Clinton administration, government has not only continued to get bigger, but nearly everyone associated with politics -- lobbyists, staffers, consultants, politicians and journalists -- has viewed politics as a way to enrich themselves on the taxpayer's dime.
This so-called permanent political class has grown wealthier as the government has expanded. In fact, while the country has battled recessions the last decade, the suburbs surrounding Washington have become boomtowns, immune from recessions and its people more removed every year from the Americans they are supposed to represent and fight for.
Breitbart News editor Mike Flynn noted, "seven of the ten richest counties in the country surround D.C.," and called the film a "must-see for anyone worried about the rise of a permanent, elite political class."
"The parties may change, but the players remain the same, profiting through every policy challenge we face,' Flynn said.
Since the Clinton administration, though, Judicial Watch has been anything but partisan, relentlessly serving as the people's watchdog and holding Democrats and Republicans -- and the so-called permanent political class -- to account.
And nearly all of the scandals detailed in "District of Corruption" would have never been known had it not been for Judicial Watch's pursuit of the truth and accountability across party lines.
In fact, in the last four years alone, Judicial Watch has filed 950 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and more than 90 lawsuits against the Obama administration, and many of those shined new light on secret Obamacare negotiations that favored political cronies and the politicization of the Department of Justice in the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case.
President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would be the most transparent ever. He said he would allow C-SPAN to televise Obamacare negotiations while banning lobbyists from the White House.
Instead, from green energy investment failures like Solyndra to cover-ups like Fast and Furious and Benghazi, the Obama administration has rewarded its friends, covering up and protecting them after their mistakes. And they have been anything but transparent.
As the film documents, even more insulting is the fact that, unlike the Bush administration, which did not give off any impression of wanting to be transparent and told Americans they intended to keep details -- like those from the Energy Task Force meetings -- secret, the Obama administration has put crony capitalism on steroids while insisting -- and lying -- about its transparency.
Take voting fraud and voter intimidation cases. "District of Corruption" extensively details how the left tries to cover up voter fraud that enables them to elect their liberal cronies but also reveals how Obama’s Attorney General and Justice Department refused to fully prosecute and actually interfered in the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case.
J. Christian Adams, a former Department of Justice Civil Rights lawyer who is now a part of the Election Law Center, described Holder’s Justice Department in the film and the politicization of it as “rancid” and “rotten.”
And just like they did during the Clinton and Bush administration, Judicial Watch unearthed the documents that exposed the Obama administration’s involvement in the case that led to the eventual dismissal of charges against three Black Panthers who intimidated voters at the polls during the 2008 election.
The film also features reporters Katie Pavlich and Matthew Boyle, both of whom have done fierce, groundbreaking work on the Fast and Furious scandal, to explain how the Obama administration continued to cover up for Holder and his Justice Department even as Judicial Watch continued to press them for more information.
Anita Moncrief, a former ACORN employee, gives inside details about how the left uses community organizing groups like ACORN to further their political ends.
The Obama administration, though, merely perfected what the Clinton administration started.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said there was a “racket being run” out of the Clinton White House, and the administration was full of people who were “trading favors.”
Breitbart News’ Mike Flynn in the film says the Clinton administration tried to “monetize” the government decision-making process, and it was almost a “criminal enterprise.”
Peter Schweizer, the president of the Government Accountability Institute, which, like Judicial Watch, has held both parties to account, mentions the Clinton administration was running government like a “commercial enterprise” and not a country by using government power “to help friends.”
The movie details how Clinton administration officials were caught with the FBI files of private citizens, entangled in fundraising scandals involving Chinese officials, and selling off pardons as Clinton was leaving office, most notably to fugitive felon financier Marc Rich. Leon Panetta, who was then Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, is now Obama’s Secretary of Defense
As the film notes, when George W. Bush’s administration took over, they saw Clinton’s blueprint and decided to use it to reward their political friends and punish enemies. They had secret Energy Task Force meetings under Vice President Dick Cheney. They also tried to use political offices and powers to reward friends in the lobbying community to build a permanent Republican majority.
And had it not been for the relentless efforts of Judicial Watch in obtaining White House records that showed Bush administration officials had meetings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who had ties to those in the highest levels of Republican leadership like House Majority Leader Tom Delay and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the public may have never known the depths to which Republicans went to use government to maximize benefits for their political and corporate cronies.
After watching the movie, what is clear is that many politicians and Washington institutions took the easy way out and joined what Sarah Palin referred to as the "permanent political class," enriching themselves at the expense of their purported principles and the American people.
One organization that has steadfastly refused to do so, though, has been Judicial Watch.
In recent years, organizations like Schweizer's Government Accountability Institute, which found that Obama's campaign was vulnerable to illegal foreign donations as was the Senate campaign of then-candidate Marco Rubio, have formed to hold politicians and institutions of both political parties to account.
But these organizations -- along with citizen politicians engaged in the fight -- have been too few in number, and the impression "District of Corruption" leaves is that as incentives for becoming a part of the corrupt, permanent political class get greater, more organizations like Judicial Watch are needed going forward.