Let’s suppose you are Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller, and you’ve been appointed head of a senate committee charged with investigating the widespread and illegal wiretapping of American citizens. You’ve previously written a personal, hand-written letter to Vice-President Dick Chaney expressing your concern about the spying on people without judicial oversight.

Let’s further suppose that, out of the blue, Verizon and AT&T executives start sending you cheques as donations for your re-election campaign. As this graph shows, not a lot of cheques: less than $50,000 in total. Neither company had given you more than petty cash in the past.


Naturally, you do the dishonorable thing and immediately begin campaigning for retroactive immunity for Verizon and AT&T. Surprised?

No, I don’t suppose you are.

More here, here and here.

[Correction: in the first post of this, I mistakenly called the Senator John instead of Jay.]