During yesterday's Oversight Committee hearing on H.R. 1, the Democrats' ethics bill, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez used her time to demonstrate how our current lax campaign finance and ethics laws corrupt our government.
Telling the witnesses they were going to play a "lightning round game," AOC told them that for purposes of her questions, she would be the "bad guy."
"I want to get away with as much (sic) bad things as possible ideally to enrich myself and advance my interest, putting myself ahead of the American people," she told them. "I also enlisted all of you as my co-conspirators so you will help me legally get away with this."
First question: "So I want to run if I want to run a campaign that is entirely funded by corporate political action committees can anything prevent me from doing that?"
Second question: "If I am a really, really bad guy and there are skeletons in my closet that I need to cover up so I can get elected -- Mr. [Bradley] Smith you wrote this opinion piece for The Washington Post entitled "These payments to women were unseemly but that does not mean they were illegal?"
Answer: "I assume that's right."
Her response: "So green light for hush money, I can do all sorts of total terrible things is totally legal right now for me to pay people off and that is considered speech. That money is considered speech."
Third question: "So I use my special interest dark money funded campaign to pay off those that I need to pay off. So now I'm elected, now I am in, I have the power to draft, lobby and shape the laws that govern the United States of America. Fabulous. Is there any hard limit that I have for what legislation I'm allowed to touch, any limits on the laws I could write, especially based on the special interest money I accepted to finance my campaign?"
Answer: "There is none."
Follow-up: "So I could be totally funded by oil and gas, I could be totally funded by big pharma, come in, write big pharma laws, and there's no limits to that, whatsoever?"
Answer: "That's right."
Fourth question: "Okay. Now the last thing I want to do is get rich with as little work as possible. "Is there anything preventing me from holding stocks in an oil or gas company and then writing laws to deregulate that industry to potentially cause the stock value to soar and accrue a lot of money in that time."
Answer: "You could do that."
Now, to the punch line, developed in three parts:
Part 1: "My last question is it possible that any element of this story applies to our current government and current public servants right now."
"So we have a system fundamentally broken we have those existing in the body which means these influences are here in this committee, shaping the questions that are being asked of you right now. Is that correct? ."
Part 2: "All right. In relation to congressional oversight that we have, the limits that are placed on me as a Congresswoman compared to the Executive branch or the President of the United States, would you say Congress has the same sort of standard of accountability? Is there more teeth in that regulation in Congress, on the President? Would you say that's about even or on the federal side?"
Answer: "In terms of laws applying to the president? There's just almost no laws at all that apply to the president."
Follow-up: "So I'm being held -- and every person in this body is being held -- to a higher ethical standard than the President of the United States."
Answer: "That's right. because there are some Ethics Committee rules that apply."
Part 3, Zinger: "And it's already super-legal as we've seen for me to be a pretty bad guy, so it's even easier for the President of the United States I would assume."
I think we all know the answer to that, but it's basically yes.
This is how, in five minutes, you expose the darkness and corruption in campaign finance, lobbying, and government from Congress to the President. Just like that.