Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, released its 2008 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” yesterday. In alphabetical order below, I offer abbreviated versions of the narratives about these politicians provided by Judicial Watch:
Click to enlarge.
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): Let’s start with the fact that Hillary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. According to the Ineligibility Clause of the United States Constitution, no member of Congress can be appointed to an office that has benefited from a salary increase during the time that Senator or Representative served in Congress.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT): Question: Which member of the U.S. Senate took the most campaign money from corrupt institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Answer: Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Given this fact there is little reason to wonder why Senator Dodd blocked reform proposals for Fannie and Freddie, calling them “ill advised.” Dodd’s willingness to protect Fannie and Freddie would alone merit a spot on the “ten most corrupt list,” but there is much more.
Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett (D-IL): CBS News once called Chicago politician Valerie Jarrett “the other side of Barack Obama’s brain.” Residents of a housing project in Chicago simply know her as “slumlord.” Jarrett is the former manager of Grove Parc Plaza, a controversial low-income housing project located in Obama’s former state senate district. According to the Boston Globe, the housing complex was considered “uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage.
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA): Rep. Lewis may share a name with a world-renowned comedian, but there’s nothing funny about his addiction to influence peddling and earmarking. Lewis, the senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, is under investigation for approving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects to benefit clients of one of his best friends, lobbyist and former Congressman Bill Lowery.
Click to enlarge.
President-Elect Barack Obama (D-IL): As Barack Obama assumes the presidency he already brings to the White House a large amount of ethical baggage. Obama’s presidential campaign had some of the ethical trimmings of a Chicago ward election. It was marked with enormous corruption issues, ranging from its alliance with the sleazy ACORN operation’s “voter registration” and “get out the vote” efforts to its acceptance of untraceable, and in too many cases, illegal online contributions.
There are also Obama’s corrupt dealings with convicted felon Tony Rezko and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, his below-market rate mortgage loans, his stock dealings and related “earmark” votes in the U.S. Senate, and his missing or non-existent official papers from his years in the Illinois State Senate. His ongoing cover up of his and his team’s role in the Blagojevich “pay-to-play” scandal is ruining his presidency even before he takes the oath of office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Last year House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the “most corrupt” list for sneaking a $25 million earmark for her husband into a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act passed by Congress. This year, Pelosi ran afoul of federal election law by participating in an illegal advertising campaign funded by Al Gore’s non-profit Alliance for Climate protection.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rep. Charles Rangel, Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, took the unusual step of filing an ethics complaint against himself in 2008 related to scandals involving unpaid taxes and rent-controlled apartments. This act was clearly a publicity stunt, but regardless, the House Ethics Committee took the New York congressman up on his request, and even took things a step further by expanding the scope of its investigation.
Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ): Three-term Republican congressman Rick Renzi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2008 for conspiracy, extortion, money laundering and wire fraud. He allegedly used his influence on a House Natural Resources Committee to orchestrate a land swap with the federal government that financially benefited himself and his associates. The 49-year-old lawmaker, who owns an insurance business, is also charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from insurance clients to fund his congressional campaign.
Former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK): “Uncle Ted” Stevens, the face of Alaska politics for 40 years and formerly the longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, was narrowly defeated in his campaign for re-election in November. But that’s the least of his problems. Just days before the November election, Stevens was convicted on seven felony counts for accepting illegal gifts and then lying about it.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK): Carrying on Alaska’s legacy of corruption, Rep. Don Young is also the subject of an influence peddling investigation. (You may recall it was Young who attempted to push through the $200 million “Bridge to Nowhere” boondoggle.) Well the Justice Department is also investigating the 18-term congressman for his corrupt ties to an oil services company, VECO, ironically the same company that furnished illegal gifts to Senator Ted Stevens.
Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC): By day, former North Carolina Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards repeatedly professed his love for his cancer-stricken wife during media interviews and campaign speeches. By night, Edwards was carrying on an illicit sexual affair with a former campaign consultant, Rielle Hunter.
Former Rep. William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson (D-LA): William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson was nabbed in a sting operation accepting a $100,000 bribe from an FBI informant to broker business deals in Africa. During his conversation with the informant, who was wired, Jefferson famously remarked, “All these notes we’re writing to each other, as if the FBI is watching.” Well, the FBI was watching (and listening) and during a subsequent search of Jefferson’s home, investigators found $90,000 in cash stuffed in the congressman’s freezer.
To read the expanded narratives about the politicians listed above, click here.
Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Judicial Watch neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office.