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Detrimental Dollars: The Dangers of Career Politicians

Despite many Americans’ wishes to forget the 2016 presidential election, recent financial disclosures and unsealed documents suggest the nation is far from ready to move on. Looking back, few voters can recall any common ground between the campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. In hindsight, their campaigns shared a striking similarity.

Ultimately proving beneficial, Trump and Bernie were jointly viewed as outsider candidates, which aided them in directing their campaigns’ focuses on calling attention to those making up Washington’s corrupt, career-climbing and profit-oriented political establishment.

While a projected 18 million people have lost work since the pandemic’s start and Congress persists in failing to compromise on an impactful stimulus, Americans have every right to be angry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “more than half of those in Congress are millionaires, data from lawmakers’ most recent financial disclosures show. … The median net worth of members of Congress who filed disclosures last year is just over $1 million.” Considering this, in addition to a cushy yearly salary of $174,000, setting term limits may be just around the corner.

The Center for Responsive Politics also states, “the leaders of both chambers make the top 10 list. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has seen her wealth increase to nearly $115 million from $41 million in 2004, … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) saw his net worth increase from $3 million to $34 million during that time. Both political leaders are married to affluent individuals who are driving up those increases.” 

Writings from former President Harry Truman’s diary state, “you can’t get rich in politics, unless you’re a crook.” These simple words of wisdom stopped echoing through the halls of Congress and in the minds of the American voter some time ago, as politics now seems like a debate over which candidate is less corrupt than the other. 

As the 2020 election draws nearer, an investigative article from Real Clear Investigations highlights the conflicts of interest behind one of Washington’s most prominent career politicians. The article accuses Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi of profiting from the cyber security firm CyberStrike and its involvement promoting the Russiagate narrative. According to the article, “the Pelosis’ sizeable investment in CrowdStrike in the $500,000 to $1 million range could revive scrutiny of the company’s involvement in the Trump-Russia saga since Democrats’ election loss.”

The DNC law firm Perkins Coie hired CrowdStrike to investigate the data breach during late April 2016. Michael Sussman, an attorney from the firm, “personally informed CrowdStrike officials that Russia was suspected of breaching the server,” according to the Real Clear Investigations. The company publicly accused Russia for the data breach and within less than two months, the law firm hired Fusion GPS, “the opposition research firm that produced the discredited Steele dossier alleging a longstanding conspiracy between Trump and Russia.”

President of CrowdStrike Shawn Henry also worked as an analyst at MSNBC, the cable news network, which according to the article, “has promoted the debunked Trump-Russia innuendo perhaps more than any other outlet.” Worsening the blow, campaign financial disclosures show “CrowdStrike contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Governors Association in 2016 and 2017.”

In addition, unsealed testimony from the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, shows CrowdStrike’s President admit under oath and “behind closed doors,” that “the firm did not have concrete evidence” implicating Russia in stealing any emails or data from the D.N.C. He went on saying, “there’s circumstantial evidence, but no evidence that they were directly exfiltrated.” Shawn Henry’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, from two months prior in October 2017, directly conflicts with his testimony from December 2017, as Henry claimed that CrowdStrike was “able to see some exfiltration and the types of files they had touched.”

Despite growing levels of uncertainty regarding the firm’s public allegation against Russia, CrowdStrike successfully withheld any and all doubts from the public. As a result, “the firm has enjoyed a stratospheric rise on Wall Street. In 2017, one year after lodging its Russian hacking allegations, CrowdStrike had a valuation of $1 billion. Three years later, after going public in 2019, the firm’s valuation was set at $6.7 billion, and soon hit $11.4 billion. Just over a year later, its market cap was $31.37 billion” according to Real Clear Investigations. 

Doubling its revenue on average every year, the newly prosperous cyber security firm managed to complete a multi-year hijack of the nation’s political news cycle, vilify Russia and President, and most importantly, raise a healthy sum of money for Paul and Nancy Pelosi. These findings should be more than enough to empower a bi-partisan call to end the nation’s cancerous election of career politicians.

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