Charles Taylor: Working Hard for the Citizens of... Michigan?

Why? Because some of Michigan's citizens pay better.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff really makes things happen for his clients. Unfortunately, it looks like he does that through bribery and influence peddling. Jack knows that there are members of Congress who don't see why their positions of power and prestige shouldn't be used to line their own pockets. Jack understands that these members of Congress are easily bought and can be put to work for any group that can raise the cash. And Jack knows that he can rely on Charles Taylor, of North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.

The AP put out a story on Thanksgiving Day that focused on the shady dealings surrounding Abramoff's Indian tribe clients efforts to garner federal school construction money. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with trying to get federal funds for school projects; this became a problem, though, when the tribes involved paid Abramoff to pay members of Congress to write letters to the Interior Department, pressing for approval of the funds. It remains true in this country that we expect lawmakers to seated in their hearts or among their constituents, and not in their bank accounts.

It looks like Taylor is involved. He participated in writing a couple of letters on behalf of the Michigan Saginaw Chippewa tribe, Abramoff clients. A few days earlier, Taylor had received $2,000 from an Abramoff client tribe. Taylor claims that he intervened in the Saginaw situation because he wanted to keep the program going so that maybe one day NC tribes could benefit. Taylor: "My efforts ... are for the benefit of every tribe, not simply those who chose to support my campaigns." But the Congressman doesn't seem to have provided the AP with any examples of Taylor going above and beyond for non-paying customers.

The bitter pill that Americans will be asked to swallow over the coming months is that some members of Congress and some lobbyists have learned to maximize personal profits by teaming up and selling the power of the US Government. It looks like that corruption has been imported into North Carolina by Charles Taylor. Taylor may be so far gone that he can't tell the difference between right and wrong—these certainly aren't his only ethical failings—but my hunch is that the people of the 11th Congressional District won't stand for it.