Lobbyists still “own” Congress, according to Jack Abramoff, dismissing the “faux reform efforts” passed in the wake of the scandal that landed him in prison. “The system hasn’t been cleaned up at all,” Washington’s most infamous ex-peddler of influence tells 60 Minutes in an interview airing Sunday. “There's an arrogance on the part of lobbyists... that no matter what they come up with, we're smarter than they are and we'll overcome it."
He cited as an example a new rule against taking lawmakers to lunch. “But you can take him to a 'fundraising lunch' and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra.” Abramoff boasted that in his heyday he had 100 lawmakers under his thumb—usually because he’d promised their staffers high-paying future jobs. “The moment I said that to them … that was it. We owned them,” he said. “Everything we want, they’re going to do." (Read more Jack Abramoff stories.)