Monday, November 20, 2006

Culture of Corruption

One reason voters gave for rejecting Republican candidates this past election cycle was the “culture of corruption” which permeated the national Republican Party. The Mark Foley and Tom Delay scandals have harmed the image of the party, though not irreparably. Though most Americans have knowledge of Republican ethics failings, only a few Americans seem to realize that the party they just gave a majority in the House and Senate has far fewer ethical scruples than their predecessors. John Murtha, Alcee Hastings, and Denny Hoyer are three senior democrats whose ethical failings supersede any Republican ethics violations, real or imaginary.

Last week, John Murtha lost in his bid to become House Majority leader. However, he did receive a significant amount of support from his party and its leader, Nancy Pelosi. In fact, John Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam investigation of several years back. In a conversation with undercover FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks, Murtha said he would not accept a bribe…yet. The following is an excerpt from the conversation between the undercover agents and John Murtha. The full text is available at

AMOROSO: Let me ask you now we're here together. I was under the impression, okay, and I told Howard we were willing to pay. And, okay, [opens the drawer and shows money] I went out and got the fifty thousand. From what you're telling me, you're telling me that's not what, you know, that that's not what you...

MURTHA: I'm not interested.


MURTHA: At this point.


MURTHA: You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't, you know.

AMOROSO: Okay, hey like I say, if the way you're wanting to do business is by us investing, or putting some money in a bank that you either owe a favor or they owe you a favor, or if we put the money in they'll do something for you, if that's the way you want the favor, that's fine. Okay? What I told Howard, when I mentioned it to Howard, I said to him, "Look, it's worth fifty thousand." I said, if, as honest as I am with you, and I told him I says, "If...the thing were to change, if for some reason it changes, whoever the guy is has got the option, either he says, 'Hey, that's not what you told me, based on that, I can't do anything for you,' or..."

MURTHA: I wouldn't do business any other way.

Murtha has also referred to the ethics reform supported by Nancy Pelosi as “crap”.

And yet, Murtha is hardly the most corrupt member of the new majority. Alcee Hastings, who will now become the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terror and Homeland Security, is the epitome of corruption. However, few Americans know of Congressman Hastings previous occupation. Alcee Hastings was once a federal judge in the state of Florida. Several years after his appointment, Hastings was impeached for corruption and perjury after he solicited a bribe. And no, he was not impeached by a Republican Congress. He was impeached by a Democratic controlled House. Even Nancy Pelosi voted to impeach Hastings. But now Hastings has the honor of serving as a representative of the state of Florida and a senior member in the Democratic Party.

Alas, even the new House Majority leader is far from innocent. The November issue of the Washington Monthly had this to say about Hoyer:

“The enthusiasm with which Hoyer has raised money from K Street, his resistance to serious lobbying reform, and his general comfort with the Washington establishment all imply a politician with little interest in systemic change. Indeed, Hoyer’s contention that the problem lies not with lobbying practices as a whole, but rather with individual corrupt members of Congress, suggests he genuinely sees little need for such change.”

Though they may have regained power, the American people will not be fooled long. The true colors of the Democrats will soon be shown. Their party does not represent the party of change and transparency. Au Contraire. Allowing men like Murtha, Hastings, and Hoyer to lead them, the Democratic Party has sealed its own fate and lost the opportunity to bring ethics reform to Washington.


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