Democrats now comprise majority of ‘most corrupt in Congress’ list

I’m sure they’ve all got good excuses, like they have to be that way to fight the evil, corrupt Republicans or some such crap. The reality is they comprise the majority of the most corrupt because they comprise the majority in Congress. When the Republicans eventually regain the majority of Congressional seats, they’ll also reclaim this distinction. They’re politicians; they just can’t help it.

From Raw Story:

By John Byrne 

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington was once characterized as a liberal group on a witch hunt to oust then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Not anymore. On Tuesday, the Washington watchdog group released its list of what it called the “most corrupt members of Congress” — and Democrats, who now control both chambers of Congress, comprise the majority.

The group posted the list of their 15 most corrupt members of Congress on a special website, CREWsMostCorrupt.com.

Democrats on the list are Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA), Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Republicans on the list include Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK). For what it’s worth, there are more Republicans percentagewise than there are in Congress, but this is probably small consolation to those who voted in a Democratic majority on the heels of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Sen. Burris, who was appointed to replace President Barack Obama in Illinois, is new to the list. He’s highlighted because of conflicting statements that emerged after he was appointed by besmirched former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Additionally, CREW notes that Burris appears to have misled the public on his legal fees in his defense over his questionable Senate appointment — listing no legal fees for the first half of 2009 even though his campaign had said he’d spent $500,000 on lawyers in April.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is also on the list. McConnell has taken flak for diverting taxpayer dollars to a former employee’s lobbying group, and for a contract awarded to a defense contractor accused of bribing the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Democrats earmarks criticized

Jack Murtha, Democrat from Pennsylvania, is now a regular, having made the list in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Murtha’s alleged corruption issues are manifold, CREW says: “his ties to the PMA Group, a now defunct lobbying firm under federal investigation; his ties to Kuchera Industries, a defense contractor under federal investigation; his ties to defense executives and former military personnel convicted of skimming money from government contracts; actions he may have taken to benefit his brother’s lobbying clients; and his chief of staff’s threats to a political opponent. ”

In the nearby state of West Virginia, CREW singles out Rep. Alan Mollohan.

“Over the past ten plus years, Rep. Mollohan has earmarked $369 million in federal grants to his district for 254 separate programs, the group notes. “Between 1997 and 2006, $250 million of that total was directed to five nonprofit organizations that were created by Rep. Mollohan and staffed by his friends.”

Twelve of the fifteen members highlighted by the watchdog group are under scrutiny in some type of investigation.

“Of this year’s list of 15, at least 12 are under investigation: Reps. Ken Calvert, Jerry Lewis, Alan Mollohan, John Murtha, Pete Visclosky and Don Young are under Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations, while Sens. Roland Burris and John Ensign and Reps. Charles Rangel and Laura Richardson are under congressional ethics committee investigations,” CREW noted in their release. “Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is under investigation by both the DOJ and the Office of Congressional Ethics and Rep. Vern Buchanan is being investigated by the Federal Election Commission.”

CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said US issues of economic malaise should put congressional corruption front and center.

“With the economy in a free-fall, unemployment rates at record highs and health care solutions still nowhere in sight, members should be spending their time looking for answers to the nation’s problems, not finding new ways to enrich themselves,” Sloan remarked. “The members of Congress profiled in CREW’s Most Corrupt report have betrayed those who voted them into office. This report holds them accountable for their bad choices.”

Sloan, one of the group’s founders, is a former counsel to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

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