Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice and the House Ethics Committee investigate statements made by Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) that he and another House member accepted cash for votes, according to CREW’s website.
If something like this is happening on Capitol Hill, then money in politics has surpassed the wretchedness of the Citizens United decision, and ridding money from politics in every aspect is more imperative now than ever.
McAllister said that he and a fellow House member swayed their votes in order to receive a $1,200 campaign contribution. The bill and colleague were left unnamed by McAllister.
According to the report, McAllister said at a Northeast Chapter of the Society of Louisiana CPAs meeting that the alleged incident was “an example of how ‘money controls Washington’ and how work on Capitol Hill is a ‘steady cycle of voting for fundraising and money instead of voting for what is right.’”
McAllister’s colleague said that if McAllister were to vote against a certain bill related to the Bureau of Land Management, the Koch-backed Heritage Foundation would grant him a $1,200 check, and a “yes” vote would earn him a $1,000 check from an environmental impact group, reported The Ouachita Citizen. McAllister denies receiving any money as a result of his vote.
“I voted no, and I didn’t get a Heritage Foundation check but he did,” McAllister said at the CPAs meeting. “I went back and checked with my friend, ‘I didn’t get a check, man. What were you talking about?’ He told me, ‘Well, I got one. Why didn’t you?’”
McAllister ended up backpedaling on his statements, claiming that he spoke “out of context” and never voted “with the expectation or anticipation” of getting money for votes.
The fact that McAllister started backpedaling on his original claims is suspicious. Is he protecting House members? Is he trying to prevent getting ousted from some unofficial, fraternal inner-circle of bribe-accepting members? McAllister did say he kept the name secret so as to not “put their business out on the street.”
McAllister shared his alleged experiences as a way to illustrate the control that money has on politics. All he did, however, was attach himself to the same dirty dealings he was trying to condemn. He’s not a crusader, but could very well be a self-admitted crook.
With the controversy surrounding Citizens United, it’s easy to assume that the political money train stopped there. However, McAllister’s statements point to something more sinister and potentially criminal.