As a member of the elite Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service, Dan Bongino says he found President Obama surrounded by “acolytes” who rarely gave the nation’s chief executive an accurate picture of himself or the problems he faced.
That “bubble,” he said, helps breed corruption, and now that he’s running as a Republican for a seat in Congress, he’s determined not to fall under the spell that seems to afflict nearly everyone who enters the Beltway, to one degree or another.
But there’s a major problem, he believes, that is rooted in human nature. No one on Earth, he contends, is immune to corruption.
“The first step to corruption is assuming you’re incorruptible,” Bongino told WND in an interview.
Bongino, whose new book “Life Inside the Bubble” was released this week, said his view of human nature is rooted in his Christian faith and informed by seeing the inside of a system he says is “more corrupt that the American people can even imagine.”
So if he wins next Nov. 4 and becomes a congressman representing the Sixth District of Maryland, how will he avoiding becoming like so many who have entered Congress before him?
For starters, he has a “built-in advantage” of lessons learned from having “seen people fold,” bolstering his vow not to “become one of these guys.”
But it’s not enough, he contends, which is why he is “signing a contract” with citizens – featured on the splash page of his website – that centers on key aspects of service that invite corruption.
One commitment is simply ensuring that he doesn’t stay so long that he becomes part of the “artificial world” constructed for the function of government, where “reelection starts to matter more than the principles you ran on.”
“The real world, as far as I’m concerned, is at the kitchen table,” he told WND.
He has declared in writing, bound by the signatures of the people he hopes to represent, that he will serve for only three terms, donate half of his pay to charity and return to the private sector when he leaves office, rather than a government or government-related job.
“There’s no getting out of it,” he said. “It’s not a sound bite. It’s a contract.”
He also will eschew paid overseas junkets that don’t have a documented, legitimate purpose. And he promises not to vote for any legislation that doesn’t affect Congress like it affects the American people.
He notes that as a Secret Service agent — he resigned in 2011 — he witnessed extensive abuse of congressional delegations.
“They have become nothing more than an excuse to waste taxpayer dollars on expensive vacations,” he says on his website.
Calling his time in the Secret Service “transformative,” he says in his “contract” he “witnessed an elitist Washington, D.C., cultural ‘bubble’ which has blinded our ‘representatives’ to the growing concerns of Americans who trust snake-oil salesmen more than politicians.”
“We have heard talk of commitment to reform before. Talk is cheap and action matters,” he says. ‘I believe the citizens of Maryland deserve a contract, in writing, declaring a set of inviolable principles I will live by if selected by you to represent you in the United States Congress.”
Watch Bongino’s interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News:
Citing the biblical adage that pride goes before the fall, Bongino told WND he's not embarrassed to say that his faith is at the center of his life.
He clarifies that as a representative of the people, it would not be his job to impart his personal faith, but he says "there's no decision I make of any consequence in my life that I don't pray on, and there's no wrong decision that I don't ask for forgiveness for."
It's no small responsibility to represent some 700,000 people, he said.
"There's really no decision, in my personal opinion, that you shouldn't be praying on," he said. "I mean, are you that arrogant that you think you know better? I certainly don't."
Bongino said he's better prepared as a candidate after running as the Republican Party nominee in Maryland's 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, a race he lost to incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin.
Next fall he will face incumbent Democrat John Delaney in a district newly formed in 2012 that leans slightly Democrat.
He has the endorsement of former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.
West said Bongino left the Secret Service at the height of his success "because he is an American patriot and the embodiment of the highest standards of honor, integrity and character ... exactly what we need inside the bubble."
In his book, Bongino says his "path into politics had a clear mission: to sound the alarm on what I had learned living inside the 'D.C. bubble' by highlighting the very real consequences of an ever-expanding government and its insulated bureaucracy."
Bongino began his career in law enforcement with the NYPD in 1995. He joined the Secret Service in 1999 as a special agent assigned to investigate financial crimes. In 2006, he joined the Presidential Protective Division in the administration of President George W. Bush and remained on protective duty during the change in administration to Obama.
Watch the trailer for the book here:
See Bongino talk about his solutions:
Hear him discuss "Life Inside the Bubble":