Let’s play a game. Let’s play a lightning round game. I’m going to be the bad guy,
which I’m sure half the room would agree with anyway
and I want to get away with as much bad things as possible,
ideally to enrich myself and advance my interests,
even if that means putting my interests ahead
of the American people. So, if I want to run a campaign
that is entirely funded by corporate political
action committees, is there anything that legally
prevents me from doing that? – No. So, let’s say I’m a really, really
bad guy and let’s say I have some skeletons
in my closet that I need to cover up so that
I can get elected. Mr Smith, is it true that
you wrote this article – this opinion piece for the
Washington Post entitled: “These payments to women
were unseemly, that doesn’t mean they were illegal”? –– Well, I can’t see the piece
but I wrote a piece under –– that headline in the Post,
so I assume that’s right. OK, great. So, green light for
hush money. I can do all sorts
of terrible things. It’s totally legal right now
for me to pay people off. So, I use my special interest,
dark money-funded campaign to pay off folks that I need
to pay off and get elected. So, now I’m elected,
now I’m in, I’ve got the power to draft,
lobby and shape the laws that govern the
United States of America. Are there any limits on the laws
that I can write or influence? – There’s no limit. So there’s none.
So I can be totally funded by oil and gas, I can be
totally funded by big pharma, come in, write big pharma
laws and there’s no limits to that whatsoever? – That’s right. The last thing I want to do is get
rich with as little work [as] possible. That’s really what I’m trying to do
as the bad guy, right? So, is there anything preventing me
from holding stocks, say, in an oil or gas company and
then writing laws to deregulate that industry and cause, you know,
that could potentially cause the stock value to soar and
accrue a lot of money in that time? –– You could do that. So I could do that.
I could do that now with the way our current
laws are set up? ––– Yes. Yes. Ok, great. Is it possible that any elements
of this story apply to our current government and our
current public servants right now? ––– Yes.
– Yes. So, we have a system that
is fundamentally broken. We have these influences
existing in this body, which means that these influences
are here, in this committee, shaping the questions that are
being asked of you all right now. Would you say that
that’s correct? Mr Mehrbani or Mr Shaub? ––– Yes.
–––– In terms of laws –––– that apply to the president.
Yeah, there’s almost no laws –––– at all that apply to
the president. So I’m being held – and every person
in this body is being held to a higher ethical standard than
the president of the United States? –––– That’s right because there
are some committee, –––– ethics committee rules
that apply to you. And it’s already super-legal,
as we’ve seen, for me to be a pretty bad guy.
So it’s even easier for the president of the United States
to be one, I would assume. –––– That’s right. Thank you very much.