"Bribery [campaign contribution]  is  no mere felony.  It's
  treason.  It's systematic.  That =is= the way it  is  done.
  Bribery  and corruption is a process of revolution, to make
  a democratic government  represent,  not  the people, but a
  part, the worse part, of the people."
                   -- *The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens*

"There had been a burst, a volcanic  eruption,  of  'steals'  and
'jobs,'  all  in  the administration of Mayor Ashbridge.  I asked
how they had dared do such  a  wild, wholesale business in such a
short time.  I was really puzzled and wanted only  to  understand
the politics; technically it looked like bad politics."

"You  could  put over one of those steals in New York or anywhere
else, but one would be  enough  to  strain any machine I know of.
And five or -- more!"

"'We  reasoned,'  he answered, 'we agreed among ourselves that it
was exactly the five or --  more  that  would save us.  If we did
any of these  things  alone  the  papers  and  the  public  would
concentrate  on  it,  get  the facts, and fight.  But we reasoned
that if we poured them all  out fast and furious, one, two, three
-- one after the other -- the papers couldn't handle them all and
the public would be stunned and -- give up.  Too much.'"

"I  was  stunned.   'Well,   you  Pennsylvania  politicians  know
something even Tammany [Hall] doesn't know.'"

"He nodded.  'Yes,' he said.  'We know a lot they don't know.  We
know that public despair  is  possible  and  that  that  is  good

[Excerpts from *The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens*]

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