Scandals on Both Sides
The Republican National Committee has fired a staffer who helped organize a $1,946 visit last month to a sex-themed Hollywood club, and the says it will recoup the money from a donor who also participated. Yahoo NewsNo dead hookers or live male children involved? Not a scandal. Sorry. This just doesn't have legs. Not when the Pope personally knew about child abuse, and may have had a hand in the cover-up. Not when there are 200 deaf boys being abused in Wisconsin. So you went to the club? Sure, if I had donated 2K to the GOP and didn't get to go to Club Voyeur to spend it with the Young Republicans, hell yeah I'd be pissed too. But then I'd have to spend my night with a group of fuggin' Young Republicans. Who the hell would want to be at that table?
"With them? You're kidding right? Oh, the bad blue suit and flag pin? Just a terrible coincidence. Can I have my lap dance now?"
Meanwhile, on the other side of the isle, let's not forget just how low the bar has been set. The Democrats are awash in ethics and corruption scandals in Congress and among the nation’s biggest governorships too.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged the Democrats would “drain the swamp” of corruption” in Washington, but much of the available evidence shows that the Democrats’ ethical record is noticeably worse. In many cases involving Democrats, investigations into wrongdoing have been swept under the rug or slowed to a snail’s pace and penalties have been just a slap on the wrist.
“Instead of draining the swamp of corruption in Washington as Pelosi promised, Democrats are now swimming neck-deep in it,” said Brian Walsh, chief spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“Whether it’s powerful committee chairs flouting tax laws, rampant earmark abuse, or a Senate nominee in Illinois who was a former banker to the mob, this isn’t change any American can believe in. Republicans will be running on returning accountability and checks and balances to Washington this November, and we are intent on earning back the trust of the American people while the Democrats continue to flout it,” Walsh said.
The House ethics committee, has more than half a dozen investigations pending into Democratic wrongdoing on everything from tax evasion to trading pork-barrel projects for campaign contributions.
At the same time, the independent, outside Office of Congressional Ethics, created in 2008 and headed by former Justice Department attorney Leo J. Wise, who won convictions against Enron executives, reports that 36 House members were under investigation, the most in more than a decade. And that's just Congress, we aren't discussing the Administration.
But Democratic majority leaders aren’t happy with OCE’s aggressive investigations of its members and have rejected most of its findings. Among 12 cases OCE referred to the House Ethics Committee in December, all but one were cleared of any wrongdoing, and three were pending.
The biggest scandal at the ethics committee came late last month when two lawmakers were cleared of allegations they had traded earmarks for campaign donations.
Wise’s report in this case was the product of dozens of interviews and some 200,000 pages of documentation of the little-seen insider trading between lobbyists and congressmen over earmarks. They put Martha Stewart away for less.
Wise’s stepped-up actions have angered House lawmakers and there has been talk in Democratic circles of limiting OCE’s authority.
But if anyone wants evidence of how hollow is Pelosi’s promise to drain the swamp, one need look no further than the scandals that have been long-swirling around Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York.
Rangel was forced to step down from the chairmanship of the powerful, tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee in early March after being admonished—the lightest “penalty” possible—for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean.
But even then he was allowed to say his action was only “a leave of absence” as chairman, though few Democrats think he will be allowed to return to his post. He faces far more serious charges in an investigation that has dragged on for more than a year.
The ethics committee is still digging into allegations he used his House office to raise money for a building named in his honor at a New York college; failed to pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic; had to amend his congressional financial disclosure reports to show more than $500,000 in wealth that he had not reported, and that he improperly used his rent-controlled apartments for his campaigns. But other than that, what a swell guy.
Then the Democrats were hit by another scandal when New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa suddenly resigned his House seat in the wake of allegations that the freshman congressman had sexually harassed a male staffer and had groped other male staffers in multiple incidents that triggered warnings to Democratic leaders last year. A Pelosi spokesman said concern over Massa’s inappropriate behavior was relayed to Pelosi’s office in October and was referred to the ethics committee. Yeah, I guess everyone just assumed he was a Republican.
The House Ethics Committee decided to drop its inquiry because of Massa’s resignation. But Republicans want an investigation into how—or even whether—House Democratic leaders responded to the earlier complaints, asking “what did they know and when did they know it?”
Pelosi, who aggressively went after Republican transgressions when the GOP was in control of the House, has been supremely indifferent to the Massa sex scandal, dismissing it as a minor matter. “It’s another subject people would like to make into a distraction,” she said in an interview on MSNBC.
Many other House Democrats were also facing ethics investigations, including Representatives Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, Alan Mollohan of West Virginia and Laura Richardson and Maxine Waters of California. But these, as well as other inquiries into House members, have been lingering for months, if not years, without any resolution.
And lest we forget two of the Democrats’ most far-reaching scandals in this election cycle have been among their governors.
In Illinois, a state notorious for its political corruption, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office last year for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama to the highest bidder. Blagojevich, who now faces charges that include fraud and solicitation of bribery, goes on trial June 3.
Obama’s Senate seat, seemed safely in Democratic hands. But then, troubling questions were raised by Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to temporarily fill Obama’s remaining term, and the Democratic nomination was eventually captured by state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who has a notoriously checkered banking background that includes financial transactions with underworld figures who have heavily contributed to his campaign.
One of Giannoulias’ top donors is Nick Giannis who was arrested and charged with writing $1.9 million in bad checks from Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias family business. Giannis gave about $114,000 to Giannoulias’ campaigns for state treasurer and the Senate.
Huh? What? Is that wrong?
... and in New York, Gov. David Paterson, accused of interfering in a domestic-violence investigation, abruptly ended his gubernatorial campaign last month –the state’s second recent Democratic governor (Eliot Spitzer was first) to be snared by scandal.
Democratic scandals have also rocked several Senate races that have given Republicans a shot at major upsets in some of the country’s bluest states.
The fact anyone bothered to start to question Connecticut Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd, scared him in enough to stop seeking reelection. As the Senate Banking Committee chairman, with oversight over the U.S. financial industry, he benefited from two sweetheart (4.5% and 4.25%) home mortgage loans in 2003 from former Countryside chief executive Angelo Mozilo.
The mortgage deals reportedly saved Dodd $75,000 over the life of the loans, according to an analysis by Portfolio magazine. “The savings came from rock-bottom interest rates and a free ‘float-down’--the right to borrow at a lower rate if interest rates fall before you’ve closed on the loan,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Dodd was not the only Democrat to benefit from Countrywide Financial’s VIP mortgage program. Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee, was one of several other government officials who received favorable loans after making a personal phone call to Mozilo.
The scandal caused Dodd’s approval polls to plummet in the midst of the housing meltdown and foreclosure crisis, forcing him to give up his bid for re-election to a sixth term, and giving Republicans a shot at the open Senate seat.
And that's just what we know about. No doubt there's a whole field of dirt under the rug. And let's be perfectly clear that I mean BOTH SIDES. This isn't a score card of the GOP ethics vs the DNC's... I am merely pointing out that a cleaning of the oligarchy of elitist entitled windbags with zero ethics must be taken out at the ballot box - All of them! It's time to start a campaign of Dump Your Incumbent. They're all crooks. They only get to that position because they owe so many favors the only way to pay them back is to be your Senator or President, to paraphrase Gore Vidal.
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy". ~Edwin Washington EdwardsGuess we'll have to see about that? Let's put them in their place, and remind them that they are our employees. And, let's show them how bad the job market is out in the real world.
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