The Atlantic

The Swamp Isn’t Easy to Drain

Corruption has been inherent to American government since the Founding Fathers—and acknowledging that is the first step toward containing it.
Source: Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Donald Trump rode to Washington, D.C., on a pledge to “drain the swamp,” but so far his administration has luxuriated in the filth. Trump’s hotels have made a mint from bookings related to government business. And with the president’s tax returns still under lock and key, it remains unclear how the Trump Organization may be profiting from his various policies. Meanwhile, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt seems to have used the resources of the Environmental Protection Agency to live high on the hog, tasking staffers with attending to his personal business and receiving sweetheart deals on room and board from special interests.

And it is not just Trump. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat, was prosecuted last year for corruption-related offenses stemming from his relationship with the ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. Although after a mistrial the Department of Justice dropped the charges against Menendez, it is clear that Melgen lavished high-value gifts upon Menendez, and in turn received attention that the average New Jerseyan could never hope to get.

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