The Best Little Whorehouse in Washington

D.C. is a town teeming with corporate brothels. You've got your non-profit bordellos like Third Way, your for-profit massage parlors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, K Street is the single biggest red-light district in the world. But bar none, the best little whorehouse in definitely the New Democratic Caucus, and this Bloomberg News story could serve as its advertisement:

The New Democrats got Rep. Barney Frank to drop provisions that would have required banks to offer so-called plain vanilla products like 30-year mortgages or low-fee credit cards. The lawmakers were also influential in excluding non-financial companies such as accounting firms, auto dealers and retailers from the agency's oversight...

Now the group is turning its attention to brokering a more difficult compromise over whether the proposed consumer agency should have the power to enforce its rules over banks that already answer to federal regulators, and whether states should be allowed to enact consumer-protection rules for nationally chartered financial institutions that are stricter than federal standards.

The coalition hasn't taken a public position on either issue, though its members are wary of the administration proposal that gives the new regulator policing power and allows states to enforce tougher rules. Those concerns are shared by the banking industry.

The story goes on to note that in just the first six months of 2009, the 15 New Democrats on the relevant Financial Services committee "received about $1.9 million in contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate industries." They may be high-class hookers - but that's a pittance when considering their work will result in billions of dollars in higher consumer fees - and thus an orgasmic happy ending for bank executives.

What's so hilarious about these harlots is the public justifications they offer up for their prostitution. They insist their lascivious behavior has nothing at all to do with the cash their clients throw at them, citing everything from "good policy" to personal experience. This is my favorite:

"We're pro-growth, innovative Democrats with real-life experience," said New York Representative Joseph Crowley, who is the coalition's chairman and also was invited on Air Force One after the president's speech. "Many of us come out of the business world."

Of course, Crowley, the group's pimp, has no "real-life experience" if (as he asserts) "real-life experience" means "coming out of the business world." As you can see in his Roll Call biography, his "previous occupation" before machine politicking his way into a congressional seat representing working-class Queens was "public official." That's right, from the instant he graduated college he's been a career politician.

But then, Crowley and the New Democrats are as serious about their public explanations as other run-of-the-mill prostitutes are in insisting they're only asking you if you are free for "a date." We're all supposed to know it's code for something much more lucrative.