Re: I'm confused...
"Until you manage to clear out all of the lobbyists, power-brokers, and pork-barrelling that is so prevalent in the US political scene, I think you should avoid calling other institutions "corrupt"."
And that'll never happen.
1) It's impossible to remove lobbyists completely. Even if you take the money angle out, there's still the "nice cushy job after you leave" angle as well as other, non-monetary, post-position influences that are pretty much protected on First Amendment grounds, as well as influence from actual constituents who can't be blocked without interfering with their primary duties. Finally, there's the family angle. How do you block lobbyists if they're spouses, who MUST be able to talk in order to raise their families?
2) Politics is a power magnet; it simply comes with the territory. And as long as there's power, there WILL be power brokers due to the human condition.
3) As for pork-barrelling, recent Congressional experience has demonstrated it to be a necessary evil. Part of the reason for the "Do Nothing" Congress' reputation is that they voluntarily limited themselves in the name of ethics but found their hands tied when it came to big bills. Smaller representatives basically have nothing to lose with voting against the grain because the communities they represent are too insular for greater politics to affect them. You need something close to home to sway them, and that means give-and-take, and the only things that will influence them enough is pork-barrel projects. In other words, pork is pretty much the only thing that can "grease" smaller representatives into getting on board broader projects that need their vote to pass.
So in the end, if you want a better government, you're going to need a better HUMAN first.