It’s not the criminal stuff that’s so appalling: it’s what counts as legal.
It’s not the hidden stuff that’s so awful: it’s what’s done, unabashedly, in public.
Lobbyists now serve as campaign chairs and consultants for the very members whose votes their clients’ money is intended to buy. Stuff that so embarrassed Lloyd Bentsen when he got caught doing it twenty years ago is now par for the course.
Footnote: If you doubted that the Democratic national campaign of 2004 was incompetently run, consider that corporate lobbyists “held all the top positions at the 2004 GOP convention in New York” and yet you never heard about it in the course of the campaign.