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Abramoff Scandal
Editorial: Don't hate Burns, hate the system

"Montana's junior U.S. senator, Republican Conrad Burns, is one of several pols in Washington, D.C., reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for actions linked to contributions and favors from a wheeling-dealing lobbyist named Jack Abramoff, who also is under investigation.

Burns would receive virtually no contributions if they had no influence or impact on him. No politician would. Lobbyists, political action committees, foundations and others don't contribute money to politicians out of altruism. Anyone who believes otherwise shouldn't sit in a seat of power in this country. Burns is no bumpkin. He not only knows which side his bread's buttered on, he knows full well why people butter his bread.

That said, Burns hardly is unique when it comes to such matters. That's an indictment of our political system, not a defense of our senator. Whether he's done anything in violation of Senate rules or the law, he's certainly a full participant in a political process that's been utterly corrupted by money. It's as much our fault and your fault as any politician's or lobbyist's that this kind of corruption exists. Our whole system is based on a couple of fictions: The politicians and political establishment pretend money doesn't buy influence, and the public pretends it doesn't notice that it does."

Get the Story:
Editorial: It's the system more than the senator (The Missoulian 12/11)

Relevant Links:
Sen. Conard Burns -
Montana Republican Party -
Montana Democratic Party -

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