In a show of partisanship, MSNBC reported that the "activity" "reported by the Times is a direct result of Republican approval, yet the article itself made it clear that Democrats and Republicans have provided legislative privileges to Wall Street firms that have provided them with campaign cash. The defense to this shocking Times report? "The practice was common in Washington." As some folks know, this is a far too common activity in Washington, where donors of big money gain significant influence over the language of legislation affecting their "special" interests. Old time Political Scientists have labeled this common practice as a process known as the "Iron Triangle." Modern Political Scientists call it part of the "Issue Network." So what are "Iron Triangles and/or Issue Networks?"
It has been a common practice for decades for lobbyists working for interest groups to influence legislation. Here is how it works; 1. Interest Groups preferring favorable legislation donate campaign cash to politicians working on committees relating to the Groups interests; 2. Interest Groups flood politicians with cash with the promise of more if their interests are protected in certain upcoming legislation; 3. Interest Groups approach low level bureaucrats in departments relating to their Groups' activities, promising them that Congress will protect the bureaucrats' "turf" with related appropriations. Thus, the creation of the "triangle" between members of Congress and/or their staff, working directly with Interest Groups pursuing favorable regulations/legislation, together convincing the bureaucracy that the favorable regulations/legislation are necessary. All feeding off each other until the favorable regulations and/or legislation are written (in accordance with the directions provided by the paying/donating Interest Group(s).
So why the shock and amazement that members of Congress have ceded to financial institutions their Constitutional authority to write actual language of legislation controlling those financial institutions? Do Americans really not know that the practice of Iron Triangles/Issue Networks has been controlling Congress for decades? Are people that clueless that the money influencing lawmakers and the bureaucrats by Interest Groups actually guides the day to day policy formation our elected leaders are charged instead with developing and completing? Money is the culprit and the Courts supporting Interest Groups' abilities to influence public policy through the mechanism of the Iron Triangles in Congress is abhorrent (See Citizens United v. FEC). Iron Triangles/Issue Networks is a Bi-Partisan problem in Washington. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of perpetuating this game of "Pay to Play" in Congress.
Next time the New York Times publishes a "shocking"report revealing the actual selling off of Congress to Interest Groups, remember it is just "business as usual" in Washington. As FDR once wrote; "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."