In “Boomtown,” a blockbuster one-hour investigative special that aired Friday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), and Steve Bannon, Breitbart News’ Executive Chairman, revealed a study discovered that for every dollar corporations spent on lobbying in 2004, they received $220 in return.
This is a 22,000% return on investment.
In essence, this influence peddling is what has turned Washington, D.C., a town that does not create valuable product like oil, beef, or computers like boomtowns of the past, into America’s wealthiest region.
Schweizer noted that for corporations, lobbying is now “a lot more profitable than buying or creating a new good.”
He said 50% of corporations now have an ex-politician on their boards. General Electric, he said, spends $100,000 every single day to influence and lobby Congress.
“They spent a lot of time carving out things in the tax code that benefit them,” Schweizer said of General Electric.
He also said that 30 major corporations spend more on lobbyists than they pay on taxes.
“This is a massive problem,” Schweizer said.
Bannon concurred, noting there are huge incentives for corporations to invest in “big government and regulation.”
“You have to have a former bureaucrat or politician on your board,” Bannon said. “They need people to guide them through Washington.”
Schweizer noted half of the Republican members who came to Congress in the famed 1994 “Contract with America” revolution have become lobbyists after leaving Congress.
“We’re not opposed to wealth creation,” Schweizer said. Rather, he explained, it is a problem if wealth is created by “extracting it from taxpayers and manipulating a crony capitalist system.”
Schweizer added that this rampant crony capitalism was “a massive cultural problem in Washington, D.C.”
Bannon said it is a lifestyle the D.C. elite do not want to talk about, even as they jetset on private planes and drink the finest of wines.
“The people in Washington never want to talk about the lifestyle,” Bannon said. He warned that he intends to put a spotlight on D.C.’s crony capitalism and the permanent political class that are enriching themselves at the expense of hard-working Americans.