On the opening day of CPAC, Judicial Watch screened its latest film, "The District of Corruption." The movie, by filmmaker Steve Bannon, chronicles recent scandals and corruption within the federal government. While focusing chiefly on scandals in the Obama Administration, like Fast and Furious and Solyndra, for example, the film also looks back at influence peddling in the Clinton Administration, as well as the Bush Administration's obsession with secrecy. It is a searing, bi-partisan indictment of an emerging ruling class.
"Government corruption isn't a Republican or Democrat issue," said Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch. "It isn't even a liberal or a conservative issue. It's an American issue."
Seven of the ten wealthiest counties in America surround Washington, DC. While the rest of the country worries about pink slips or foreclosures, the DC sky line is sprinkled with high-rise construction cranes. Self-dealing and special interests are a bi-partisan lifestyle in the nation's capital. "District of Corruption" is a powerful testament why Americans feel their leaders have grown out of touch with the country.
After the screening, filmmaker Bannon convened a panel of many participants from the film, including Breitbart News' Matthew Boyle and Kerry Picket, Fitton, radio host David Webb and Townhall editor Katie Pavlich. The panel stressed the importance of taking information like that presented in the film and using it to take action.
"We can go out and investigate these issues and report them," Webb noted. "But, if we don't act on it" things won't really change. Webb stressed that Americans couldn't rely on politicians, from either party, to stamp out the corruption. "Congress is not going to do the job, but protects its own," Webb said. Their priority is "maintaining the status quo of their Imperial city."
Boyle reiterated that theme, saying he finds it "sickening that Republicans aren't there fighting for you guys." He talked about how Rep. Paul Ryan repeatedly avoided answering whether he thought Eric Holder should resign over Fast and Furious. It was only after he had joined the GOP ticket with Mitt Romney, who had already called for Holder's resignation, did Ryan add his voice to the issue.
Politicians may run away from an issue they deem controversial, but they shouldn't fear stories built on facts. Boyle mentioned that when he first broke the scandals surrounding Sen. Menendez, the New York Times backed up his story by calling for Menendez to step down from his chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee. "Just keep reporting the facts," Boyle noted. "Whether or not the New York Times follows doesn't matter."
Bannon urged the young reporters, who often were the only journalists reporting on Fast and Furious, to discuss the threats and intimidation they receive when they question government officials and politicians. Bannon stressed to the audience that reporting these stories can often be a lonely and anxious existence, filled with worries that a reporter will lose access to sources. Conservatives in the audience were urged to support the reporter's efforts.
"The District of Corruption" will be widely available soon. It is a great tutorial on the rot that has infected Washington. It is, however, just a first step. It is now up to the public to do something about it.