Editor's Note: Katrina vanden Heuvel's weekly column on WashingtonPost.com is excerpted below.
What is the biggest scandal of 2010 so far?
Allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation from Goldman Sachs? An oil spill that poses a threat to our environment and economy for generations? Mining operators freely ignoring safety violations and treating workers as disposable?
Each of these is bad. But perhaps the biggest political scandal is the one that aids and abets these others -- the pay-to-play system that buys up Congress, pollutes our political system with special-interest cash and deep-sixes the kind of bold reform agenda that we voted for and need.
The health-care industry has contributed more than $200 million to congressional candidates in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Is it any wonder that there was no public option in the final bill, or that Medicare isn't able to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors the same way the Veterans Administration does for veterans?
Read Katrina's full column at the WashingtonPost.com.