Washington's Other Scandal | frontline online
navigation, see belowJoin the Discussion: What are your views on the fundamental issues of money in politics -  and the abuses in the 1996 election campaign?  We invite you to share your thoughts here.


Thank you for the information on tonight's program. It was well done! What happened to the Native American Community is pathetic! I feel so sad for them. I feel anger toward Bill Clinton --in fact much more than I have during the Lewinski/Clinton scandal. I would wish that Congress and the Senate could be serious about Campaign Reform and put all the other nonsense behind them. Are they trying to avoid looking at what really matters to the citizens of our country? But then maybe we are no longer a democracy and an individual's voice really doesn't count at all anymore!

norma wood
adrian, michigan


Thank you for the Money Machine program. It is obvious both parties have acted disgracefully. Both parties must cooperate to stop the practice of soft money donations being used to buy our government. Voters, both Democrats and Republicans, must refuse to vote against their party's candidates who only denounce the other party while partaking of the same kinds of funds. Honor, except for a small number of elected officials, is dead in both parties.

The average voter has no real voice. Our government has been bought and paid for by others. Clinton and Gore, and Lott and Gingrich should all be thrown out of office by an angry citizenry, along with their minions in Congress. No wonder so few bother to vote.

As a Kansan I am as embarrassed that Senator Brownback is my senator as that President Clinton is my President.

Keep up the good work.

Sam Dicks
emporia, kansas


Excellent insight into what has become a blemish on the American way of life. It puts our way of life and very exestence as we know it on the auctioneers table. It's a shame we can't just Oxy-5 it away like the blemishes we had as children. Please keep up the good work.

Jim Thompson
ft.knox, ky


thank you for your informative show on the 1996 campaign. It was straight - unclouded reporting. We need more of this to make decisions on canidates instead of listening to the ads. Isn't anyone watching the store? How could this be going on right under our noses....

park ridge, nj


The campaign money scandal has always bothered me more than what Mr. Starr was choosing to focus upon. It's regrettable that there seem to be so few elected officials, appointed officials, and political party organizers who express any real embarrassment regarding the "business" of political fundraising. Sen. Lieberman shines among the throng as a thoughtful and morally upright person. Would that he could be empowered to head the reform effort and/or to investigate the ongoing abuse of the American republic's democratic process. Can we not see more praise of honest men--perhaps a special show devoted to contemporary examples of persons who walk on the correct side of the moral dividing line?

As a liberal Democrat of forty-something, I was raised with idealistic hopes for what the political process could make possible for those who had traditionally been shut out of the glad-handing because their hands were empty. Nowadays I am sorry to see the Democratic Party up to its neck in fat-cat fundrasing shenanigans. If anything will make me an independent voter, it's "the money, stupid"--not in the economy, but in the back pockets of the President and his adversaries both.

honeoye falls, ny


After watching Frontline tonight, I am now more certain that it is no longer "we the people" but rather if you have money, you run the show. I hope there is a heart in DC to give back the land to the tribe no conditions or restrictions. "We the people" do not trust govenment, politicians or big business. I am a liberal who still has a heart for those children, elderly, etc. that have no food , clothing, shelter. We as a people should be disgusted at both sides of the political arena. My husband and I work hard for our money, pay back our student loans, give to our charities and raise our children in the best way possible. These people in DC could care less about us...."we the people". All the money spent in these campaigns could feed, educate, clothe and save...what have we come to in this country?

, west virginia


I am so discouraged with all the abuse in Washington. Our fore-fathers would turn in there graves if they were to see the way our elected officials act. God can not continue to bless our nation if we don't turn from our dishonest, self-indulgent and immoral ways. Thanks for listening.

Kerry Zantello
milford, michigan


I have just acquired my first computer and this is my first involvement in an internet discussion. Since I just finished watching Bill Moyers' EXCELLENT expose and, as a result, my diastolic blood pressure is up 15 points, it is therapeutic to be able to express my opinion immediately. It has become increasingly clear that our 'democracy' is merely an illusion, and I have never seen the case better organized and more clearly and understandably presented. Tomorrow I will do my bit by composing a letter to Attorney General Reno, urging her to launch a thorough investigation of this appalling situation.

buffalo, ny


Excellent show - I feel so naive as to the inner workings of our political system after watching it. Our legal system is becoming a joke where clever advisors or attorneys can manipulate the law to their own liking yet still be within the framework of the law! What ever happened to just plain "right and wrong" and knowing the difference, without altering it to fit one's needs and thereby still be "legal'. Now I better understand Clinton's arguing the semantics of "sexual relationship" - he's been a pro at this for years! Please keep giving us these wonderful programs. Thank you.

Judy Hardiman
waltham, ma


Superb documentary. Every voter should see it (& then demand reform).

TRIAD is far more frightening than anything else in the piece, however, and I am concerned that it was not sufficiently emphasized. Why haven't print, other journalists paid any attention to the TRIAD story.

Issue ads wouldn't matter as much if commercial networks produced real journalism. Thanks for PBS!

charlottesville, va


Very good episode, and very fair in exposure, for the most part. Unfortunately, though, the big difference between Democrat and Republican fundraising techniques was never discussed; that being the focus and outcome.

Democratic fundraising, as evidenced by the Oklahoma tribe's experience, was aimed at politicians and only hinted at access, and that access obviously was not used to sway politicians, though it could have.

Republican fundraising, as exemplified by the Sen. Brownback/Triad travesty, was aimed at influencing the outcome of elections, a much more serious offense than trying to influence the president.

Buying access is bad enough, but when you buy an election, democracy dies.

Joel Rutledge
wichita, kansas


The program was quite good and informative. It presented a balanced picture of campaign abuses by both politcal parties. One cannot help but be deeply disturbed by what appears to be the selling of democracy to the highest bidder. No wonder most Americans are cynical about their political leaders. The failure by Congress to pass meaningful campaign finance reform is as shameful as their hypocrisy in helping this decadent system flourish.

olathe, kansas


It is refreshing to see PBS run Frontline documentaries concerning illegal campaign fund raising by both parties. I will view both as a alternative news source, instead of the major media outlets who seem to be extremely liberal biased. I commend you on your courage. I am particularly disgusted with President Clinton and his arrogance and poor treatment of the Cheyenne/Arapahoe people. Those folks did not have that kind of money to spare. If we survive this president I would like to see him serve a life term in prison.

Phil Campbell
mcloud, ok


Public television should be not be politically biased. You did not fool anybody with your five minute pretense at fairness in showing a smidgeon of the republican campaign scandals. I am shocked at this obvious attempt to smear an already maimed Democratic party. It makes me very suspicious who is financing PBS programing. I can tell you that you have lost the support and all future contributions from this viewer. There are now quite a number of other choices in "educational" television, and I think I will choose programing NOT on PBS.

iowa city, ia


If our founding fathers could have seen your report, they would be leading another revolution. Your story was an indictment of the failure of the two party system to represent all of the people. My suspicions that the Democrats and Republicans represent only the wealthy and special interests have been confirmed. I was especially disgusted by the involvement of the presidnet to such a major degree and by the horrible treatment that the Oklahoma tribe received at the hands of Gore's front man. the American people should wake up and throw out all politicians who refuse to vote for sweeping campaign finance reform. Government must be returned to the people.

Jim Hall
amarillo, tx


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