The purchase of politicians is part of the business of Washington D.C., and most other centers of power in the United States. "Contributions" through the lobbying industry seem to be the way of demonstrating membership in the "system." It is probably not far different in essence from the way business was done in Ancient Egypt or Babylon. Oh, some of the particulars are uniquely American, but in essence it is buying an ear. Purchasing influence.
Once a system is entrenched it is quite hard to root out. Revolutions are messy, and most don't really improve the situation. One of the most admirable aspects of our own system is the relatively bloodless changes of power. Unfortunately, our electoral system seems to offer only two flavors, and they are hard to tell apart. Is this vanilla or French vanilla? I can't tell, and it really just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
So, I thinks a bit, does I. If you can't break down the system to overcome the system, why not mimic the system and undermine it? What I propose is a special lobby of sorts. For each professional lobbyist we field a shadow, an individual who will simply report where that lobbyist goes and with whom they meet. Then that information is made public.
This shadow lobbyist doesn't listen in, or do any spy work other than open shadowing. They follow the lobbyist to the big wig's office and just sit in the waiting room. Then they follow the lobbyist when they go out from there to meet another fat cat at a restaurant. Follow. Report. Follow. Report.
This could be a business opportunity for some enterprising American. Hey, if you are lucky the fat cats will buy you off. It could happen. It's a free country. It's even more free for those who have money, of course. If you are scrupulous you could provide a valuable service to Americans who are fed up with things as they are. If you aren't, at least you could make some money.
Just like real lobbyists.
5 hours ago