Abbe Lowell, a lawyer at Chadbourne and Parke LLP, has made a career out of representing the corrupt. He represented former Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D) and The Torch, former New Jersey Senator Bob Torricelli (D). He's currently Jack Abramoff's lawyer.
And now he's a reformer. Lowell pens an op-ed in today's USA Today making the case that more scrutiny ought to be placed on the role of lawmakers, not lobbyists, in the corruption scandals roiling Washington and the nation. (Interesting he didn't write this while defending Torricelli or Rostenkowski, but I digress.)
He doesn't stop there. He outlines a substantial program for reform, including "additional public financing of campaigns." (Additional?) Here's Lowell's program:
• Require fundraisers to disclose publicly their interest in legislation.
• Require sponsors of "bundled" contributions (individual contributions arranged together for greater impact) to disclose their roles.
• Impose further limits on the total amount individuals can give in an election cycle.
• Provide additional public financing of campaigns.
• Help candidates pay for access to various media.
I'd like him to go further, of course, and support the public financing and spending limits laws already working successfully in Maine, Arizona and other places. But I can't get the real story out of my head: Here's a guy who has defended the crooks and perhaps knows more about their actions than anyone but those he has defended themselves. And he's calling for a reform platform that goes beyond what Congress is willing to even debate.
Stay tuned for our press conference with other reform groups this morning -- we'll be releasing the Voters First Pledge, which doesn't look that different from some of the suggestions Lowell offers today.
Lowell ends with this:
"...the time has come for the entire process to be under investigation so that a better system can result."