Debate for sale in Washington

Posing as a shadowy emissary of a rich dictatorship, an investigative journalist approached a number of top lobbying firms in Washington DC and was promised with almost no questions asked all sorts of things–op-eds planted in newspapers, fake policy events hosted at think tanks, …-that shouldn’t be for sale in a democracy worth the name. It’s a fascinating expose, though one I find sadly unsurprising after my own sojourn in the Beltway.

Kudos to Silverstein for Ali G-ing these rogues and giving Americans a glimpse of Washington’s underworld, where everything’s for sale.

Democracy Now! | In New Expose, Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine Goes Undercover to Find Out What US Lobbyists Do for Dictators

Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine visited Washington’s top lobbying firms posing as a representative of a fictitious investment firm with a financial stake in Turkmenistan. He claimed that he was eager to bolster the image of a regime widely described as one of the most authoritarian in the world. Two prominent firms fell for the bait, promising unparalleled access to Washington’s decision makers and improved media coverage—for a fee of up to $1.2 million.


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