Jack Abramoff goes for D.C.’s jugular: Term limits

By WND Staff

Jack Abramoff
Jack Abramoff

Sometimes it may take someone who knows how to manipulate the system to tell you how to save it. And former superstar lobbyist Jack Abramoff is coming forward with a revolutionary proposal to rip out the corruption at the heart of Washington, D.C.

Abramoff recently endorsed a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Congress, calling it a desperately needed step to restore the constitutional framework envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Abramoff alleged the present system practically invites venality.

“Ultimately, it’s because the longer people stay in Washington in positions in power, the more corrupt they become,” he told WND.

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Abramoff knows well of what he speaks. His extraordinary career as an influence peddler on Capitol Hill became a nationwide scandal several years ago, ensnaring some of Washington’s best-known legislators and immortalized in the film “Casino Jack.” Abramoff went on to tell the remarkable story of his rise and fall in “Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist.”

Abramoff has little faith in the ability of Congress to reform itself.

“It’s going to be very hard to do it without term limits,” he said. “And term limits are going to require a constitutional amendment. Unless there’s a constitutional convention or some other means of doing it, it’s going to be very difficult, especially if one has to go through Congress. I would presume a majority of the members are still opposed to limiting their terms. The best way is to go through the state legislatures.”

But as hard as it will be to push through term limits, Abramoff has something even more expansive in mind.

“It shouldn’t just be limited to the legislators,” he said. “By congressional rule, they should term limit the staff as well, including the legislative aides. The civil service is something a bit different but would also be worth exploring.”

Abramoff believes what is at stake is nothing less than the small-r republican vision of the Founding Fathers.

“Any center of permanent power in Washington is something that is antithetical to what the Founders anticipated for this country,” the former lobbyist warned. “And it’s something that gets in the way of reforming and renewing our system in a way that’s constitutionally consistent and in a way that would invigorate our nation.

“I think the most important thing Washington, D.C., could have is a constant stream of new people, ideas, inputs, etc, from the nation. Otherwise, the folks who remain in Washington become calcified and encased in their cocoon of power. You end up with a political class that’s become completely unresponsive to the American people. Unfortunately, that’s what has happened in Washington, D.C., over the last several centuries we’ve had our republic.”

The truth is even more incredible than Hollywood. The story of “Casino Jack” from the man himself. “Capitol Punishment” by Jack Abramoff, available now in the WND Superstore.

When it comes to term limits, Abramoff is more than willing to seek allies across the aisle.

“I’ve been conversant with the left on this issue,” he told WND. “I think there’s an agreement in general, certainly among the populist left, that having new people in there is a good idea. We don’t want to enthrone any individual American or groups of Americans as virtual royalty by giving them a lifetime government position, with perhaps the exception of the judiciary.”

And Abramoff argues most Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, understand the system is fatally broken. He points to the massive support for “outsider” candidates among both Republicans and Democrats this primary season.

“The American people are frustrated and it almost cuts across ideology, although I’m suspicious about the so-called outsiders coming from the left. I think what they want is more government, a more entrenched and aggressive state, and that is not the solution to what ails America.”

Abramoff considers Republican front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both “outsiders,” though he says each operates in a different way.


“There’s no question Trump is an outsider,” he observed. “Obviously, Trump has not been elected in the past and he’s never been part of a bureaucracy in the past. But at the same time, I think Trump has been a participant in the system, and, frankly, by his own admission, in ways that are troubling. He seems to be admitting that he bought public servants with contributions and other things. That’s a little troubling, and it’s hard to know what would happen if Trump were elected. If that happens, we’d just have to hope for the best on this issue.”

Despite being an elected politician, Cruz can also credibly claim to operate as an anti-system candidate, according to Abramoff.

“You can’t dismiss Ted Cruz as an outsider,” he said. “Even though he’s physically been in Washington for a while, I’m not certain there’s anybody in the city who’s considered more of an outsider by those forces in Washington. I think Cruz would also have a very strong ability to reform the system from the outside because that’s how he thinks.”

However, considering his colorful past, Abramoff refused to endorse either Cruz or Trump as his pick to clean up Washington.

“Well, one thing I’ve learned since my scandal is that my preferences are not frequently helpful for the people I prefer, so I won’t get involved,” he joked.

Term limits are only the beginning, Abramoff stressed, and “Casino Jack” told WND a wide-ranging program of reforms is needed in order to clean up Washington.

“We are also going to need to repeal the 17th Amendment, which provides for direct election of senators,” he said. “That’s had an extremely deleterious effect for the past 100 years. That’s two constitutional amendments there, and I get into some other measures in ‘Capitol Punishment.’ But we are going to start by imposing those term limits on legislators and ideally, their staff. It’s going to take some very bold steps.”

Washington, D.C., was founded on a swamp – and not much has changed. Learn how the Beltway really operates. “Capitol Punishment,” available now in the WND Superstore.


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