LOU DOBBS: I have got to ask you, Ed. These folks not returning [Jack Abramoff's] money, that's pretty fancy ratio[nale]s that they have come up with.
ED ROLLINS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, the bottom line is some of them think they are election proof, but I promise every single one of them will pay a lot more defending themselves than the money they should have given back.
DOBBS: I love the way that we're all in this media, the national media, covering the stories. If Abramoff is one lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and there are only $4.5 million being pushed around the table for our lovely elected officials. Should we be concerned beyond this?
JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, you know, it's what happens, and what academics call mature democracies. The special interests become more and more powerful. Their ways and means more and more ornate. And every once in a while you've got to clean out the stables. I think we're reaching that point now.
KLEIN: That's right. And also, the lobbyists have always been with us. Mark Twain wrote a wonderful book called "The Gilded Age" in the 19th century and things haven't changed all that much.
DOBBS: And it's nice to know there's been so much progress.
FUND: And they used to pay cash on the barrel head.
FUND: But why is the cash there? Because the government has become so big and so all powerful. Because the Supreme Court has taken on to itself so many powers that used to be held by legislatures.
If you have that much power--you know what Jack Abramoff once said before he went bad? He said government money in the water is just food for sharks. He became a shark. You have a government this powerful, you are going to have this many lobbyists. You are going to have this many people turning the Supreme Court nomination process into a circus.
DOBBS: You said before Jack Abramoff went bad. Did you mean before Jack Abramoff was caught?
FUND: No, I think Jack Abramoff was corrupted by Washington. That's the tragedy.
ROLLINS: Poor Jack.
KLEIN: I think he was born a shark.
ROLLINS: I think so, too.
Writers Chatting: Chapter 11 - Welcome to the final chapter for 2017. Let’s start with some additional information from Andrew Durkin, see his original guest post here. This part of his...