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The Odor From Capitol Hill

An Editorial from the New york Times:

Congressmen caught in wrongdoing at this time of year like to complain that they’re the victims of election-eve politics. If the looming elections inspire whistleblowers, we say bravo.

As predicaments go for champions of family values, few can top the embarrassment suffered by Representative Curt Weldon when federal agents raided the home of his daughter, a Washington lobbyist, in search of evidence that the powerful lawmaker helped her with lucrative clients. The grand jury is still out on the investigation, and Mr. Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican, says he is innocent. But with each fresh scandal, the tattooing of the G.O.P.-run 109th Congress continues in pre-election polls.

 Voters had no sooner adjusted to the shock of seeing Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, disgraced from office by his come-ons to Congressional pages than Bob Ney took his turn on the pre-election scandal smorgasbord. Representative Ney, Republican of Ohio, pleaded guilty to being a principal in the quid-pro-quo insiders’ market run by Jack Abramoff, the corrupt Republican lobbyist who is cooperating with investigators about his ties to Congress and the White House. Another Republican, former Representative Randy Cunningham of California, is already doing time. He sold his office in steering $70 million in contracts to companies that offered bribes ranging from a Rolls-Royce to a carpet emblazoned “Global War on Terror.”

It should be remembered that Speaker Dennis Hastert, now under fire in the Foley scandal, helped dampen any chance of in-House ethical controls in his failed attempt to save the career of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, an Abramoff ally who is accused of political money laundering and is awaiting trial. The sight of the ossified ethics committee forced back to life by the Foley scandal is more pathetic than heartening. It’s small wonder that lawmakers feel empowered to make ethical stretches — like Representative John Doolittle’s boosting his own family’s value by having his wife designated a consultant and paying her a 15 percent commission off the top of his campaign kitty.

Read more here.

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October 18, 2006 - Posted by | Op Ed, Uncategorized

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