Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Culture of Corruption

In 2006 the then-Democratic minorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate ran on theme of a Republican "Culture of Corruption" in Congress. They weren't far off on labeling Republicans this way. The GOP had experienced an unusually high number of congressional scandals including the infamous Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal that sent now former Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican, to jail. Other problems came up including a page scandal where former Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, was discovered to have been texting high school pages that worked in the Capitol on some highly inappropriate subjects.

Now it looks like the tables have turned and the big question will be how will the Democratic leadership address this scandal involving, ironically, the lawmaker who replaced Representative Foley. It looks like Representative Tim Mahoney (D-FL) is being accused of paying a former staffer, and his mistress, about $121,000 to stay quiet about the affair. We'll see how this plays out but it is always fascinating to the Hat Trick how politicians always try and play the morality card for political gain and always (always!) get burned doing it. House Republicans impeaching former President Bill Clinton when both the Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Appropriations Chairman (and incoming Speaker) Bob Livingston (R-LA) were involved in extramarital affairs. Current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised that the House of Representatives, under her leadership, would run the most ethical Congress in history. She has already stumbled badly with many ethical lapses in her own caucus including Representative Bill Jefferson (D-LA) current trial on corruption charges. The Mahoney incident doesn't help matters and I think the Democratic leadership is going to have to come down hard on Mahoney, otherwise they will have proven they are no better compared with the Republicans they threw out of office in 2006.

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