Your Government Official (TM)

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Dear Special Interest,

Congratulations on the purchase of your genuine Government OfficialTM.

With regular maintenance, your Government OfficialTM should provide you with a lifetime of sweetheart deals, insider information, preferential legislation and other fine services. Before you begin using your product, we would appreciate it if you would take the time to fill out this customer service card. This information will not be sold to any other party, and will be used solely to aid us in better fulfilling your future needs in political influence.

  1. Which of our fine products did you buy?

    • President
    • Vice President
    • Senator
    • Congressman
    • Governor
    • Cabinet Secretary — Commerce
    • Cabinet Secretary — Other
    • Other Elected Official (please specify)
    • Other Appointed Official (please specify)

  2. How did you hear about your Government OfficialTM? (Please check all that apply.)

    • TV ad.
    • Magazine / newspaper ad.
    • Shared jail cell with.
    • Former law partner of.
    • Unindicted co-conspirator with.
    • Arkansas crony of.
    • Procured for.
    • Related to.
    • Recommended by lobbyist.
    • Recommended by organized crime figure.
    • Frequently mentioned in conspiracy theories. (On Internet.)
    • Frequently mentioned in conspiracy theories. (Elsewhere.)
    • Spoke at fundraiser at my temple.
    • Solicited bribe from me.
  3. How do you expect to use your Government OfficialTM? (Please check all that apply.)

    • Obtain lucrative government contracts.
    • Have my prejudices turned into law.
    • Obtain diplomatic concessions.
    • Obtain trade concessions.
    • Have embargo lifted from own nation / ally.
    • Have embargo imposed on enemy / rival nation / religious infidels.
    • Obtain patronage job for self / spouse / mistress.
    • Forestall military action against self / allies.
    • Instigate military action against internal enemies / aggressors / targets for future conquest.
    • Impede criminal / civil investigation of self / associates / spouse.
    • Obtain pardon for self / associates / spouse.
    • Inflict punitive legislation on class enemies / rivals / hated ethnic groups.
    • Inflict punitive regulation on business competitors / environmental exploiters / capitalist pigs.
  4. What factors influenced your purchase? (Please check all that apply.)

    • Performance of currently owned model.
    • Reputation.
    • Price.
    • Appearance.
    • Party affiliation.
    • Professed beliefs of Government OfficialTM.
    • Actual beliefs of Government OfficialTM.
    • Orders from boss / superior officer / foreign government.
    • Blackmail.
    • Celebrity endorsement.
  5. Is this product intended as a replacement for a currently owned Government OfficialTM? ______

    If you answered “yes,” please indicate your reason(s) for changing models.

    • Excessive operating / maintenance costs.
    • Needs have grown beyond capacity of current model.
    • Defect in current model:
      Dead.
      Senile.
      Indicted.
      Convicted.
      Resigned in disgrace.
      Switched parties / beliefs.
      Outbribed by competing interest.

Thank you for your valuable time. Always remember: In choosing a Government OfficialTM you have chosen the best politician that money can buy.

Jonathan P. Bernick is a humorist living in rural New Mexico. His column “Slings & Arrows” appears in The Frumious Bandersnatch, an online satirical newspaper.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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