The Omniscient Eye

How Much for Just the Senator?

So your character is a millionionaire playboy, a vampire cashing in some very long-term bonds, or an alchemist who finally has that lead-to- gold formula right. However you did it, you have a lot of money and want to buy yourself a Congressperson. How do you bribe an elected official, how illegal is that, and what can you do with your new friend?

First, know that this will be harder than you think. As frightening as it may seem, many politicians really believe most of the things they say. They have principles, believe they know better than you, or have fallen for their own PR. At least on core issues, bribery will not be the way to make large changes. Could you pay the President or Speaker of the House enough to reverse their positions on abortion? Even completely unprincipled politicians can be hard to sway because they are obstinate or too proud to be bought by someone from the 99.9999% of the population that is not a Senator. Or maybe someone else already bought that one.

And, frankly, can you trust him to stay bought? A quote attributed to a great many politicians holds, "If you can't take their money, drink their liquor, [enjoy] their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don't belong here." At best you are renting, not buying.

Even with a successful bribe, your range is limited. Your new friend (let's call him Bill) has a long list of old friends, . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: October 5, 2007

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