NEWS & ANALYSIS

Former Paul Ryan Staffer Endorses the Return of ‘Old-Fashioned’ Corruption in Congress


Corruption in government is the use of power by officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain. To most, corruption is something to stay away from.

But, a former Paul Ryan staffer expressed support for the return of “old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill corruption” that comes with burying earmarks in congressional legislation, The Federalist reports.

George Callas, now managing director of government affairs and public policy at Steptoe and Johnson, justified his statement by claiming earmarks are necessary to reform the “legislative and governing process.”

“Earmarks also benefit a functional legislative and governing process. I’d be more than willing to accept a little old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill corruption if it meant reducing the macro-level dysfunction from which we now suffer,” Callas wrote on Twitter, though it has since been removed.

The tweet came as part of an online battle with Courtney Shadegg, daughter of former Rep. John Shadegg, whose former boss, the late Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, led congressional efforts to ban earmarks in 2007 and repeatedly warned people against “resurrecting pork-barrel politics.”

“The thing I think you’re saying here is we can do a little more legislation if we accept a little corruption and that’s just not good enough for me, and the American people shouldnt’ accept it either,” Shadegg replied.

“Okay this is why everyone hates DC. How do we get Congress to do its job?! Grease the skids! Do you know how deranged it is that people are rationalizing this. In real life you do your job or you get fired,” she added.

Callas was quick to respond.

“It’s ‘deranged’ to acknowledge that we don’t live in utopia, that governing in a democratic, heterogeneous society is a messy process, and that attempts to purify it often have the unintended consequence of breaking it,” he said. “What you call ‘deranged’ used to be called ‘conservative.'”

Shadegg got the last word by pointing out the Callas essentially proved her point that politicians are “more concerned with staying in office than doing what is right.”

“I was calling corruption deranged, George. I don’t know when corruption was conservative. But go off if you want. All of this is a distraction from elected officials being more concerned with staying in office than doing what is right,” she said.

Human Events co-publisher Jeff Webb, who in his recent Amazon number one bestseller “American Restoration: How to Unshackle the Great Middle Class” identifies political corruption as the greatest problem in American government, said this of the statement.

“Suggesting that more corruption is what’s needed to make government work again is so perverse it’s almost satirical. This kind of attitude, that I think sadly is more the norm than the exception in Washington, is exactly why so many Americans have lost faith in our elected leaders and in the institutions that are supposed to serve, and report to, our citizen ‘shareholders.'”