For many voters, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee , is the embodiment of much that is wrong with the Democratic establishment. She was accused of working to rig the primaries for Hillary Clinton and repeatedly lying to the public. Given that history, one would think that Wasserman Schultz would avoid any questions that remotely deal with ethics or honesty or influence peddling. However, that is not how Washington works. Wasserman Schultz’s supporters enthusiastically re-elected her and most folks in Washington view voters as having the attention span of a Golden Retriever. Thus, Wasserman Schultz was trotted out on CNN to assure the public that President Obama receiving obscene amounts of money from Wall Street interests is none of their business.
For Sanders supporters, Wasserman Schultz was a primary target for allegations of special dealing and dishonesty. Given that history, they are unlikely to be happy with Wasserman Schultz effectively telling both Senators Sanders and Warren to shut up about massive payments going to the Obamas by Wall Street firms and other powerful groups. During the campaign, Wasserman Schultz also fended off calls for Clinton to release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street firms and bankers.
Many of us raised objections over how Obama quickly collected almost a half of million dollars (in fees and likely travel expenses) for a single speech from powerful interests. Under our current system, we have all of these bribery and influence peddling laws in place. However, if Wall Street or lobbyists give a former president half a million dollars for less than one hour of speaking soon after leaving office, it is entirely acceptable from a legal standpoint.
There is obviously a serious concern over the corruptive impact of such speeches — the very issue that crippled the campaign of Hillary Clinton who has to this day refused to release the speeches that she gave to Wall Street investors for huge speaking fees.
Wasserman Schultz however told CNN “It is none of anyone’s business what someone who is a member of the private sector decides to accept in terms of compensation.” Thus, according to the Wasserman Schultz book of ethics and good government, it is a matter of “MYOB” for citizens who should not be interested at all if a president immediately collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who seek to influence federal officials and policies.
In a line that sums by the approach of Democratic leadership supporting the Clinton campaign, Wasserman Schultz declared “With all due respect to anyone who chooses to comment publicly on what Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or anyone earns as a member of the private sector, it’s just, like, MYOB – it’s none of your business.”
Well, at least she admitted that politics is now a simple matter of business.