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Dirty (baker's) dozen
September 27, 2005 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress. CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has released a report detailing the dirty business of many members of Congress.
posted by caddis (57 comments total)

 
Fuckin' Republicans.
posted by Witty at 8:59 AM on September 27, 2005


"Two days before he introduced a bill that would benefit private national weather companies, the Senator’s (Santorum) political action committee, America’s Foundation, received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive officer of a leading weather data provider located in State College, PA., called AccuWeather, Inc."

He is one cheap buy. That's a cost-effective bribe.

I have only one question: where is Mitch McConnell?
posted by ?! at 9:03 AM on September 27, 2005


I don't have time to read the entire article but just wondering if at least 10 of the dirty 13 happen to be Republican?
posted by GoodJob! at 9:06 AM on September 27, 2005


11 of 13. And yet they are the party of morality and ethics, to hear them talk about it.
posted by maxsparber at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2005


GoodJob!.... you not only didn't read the article, I doubt you even clicked on the link to see the list right there on your screen with little R's and D's by the names..

just lazy, perhaps...

I vote we don't tell him and make GoodJob! actually click on the link BEFORE he posts here on metafilter....
posted by HuronBob at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2005


The fact that there are so few Dems on the list does make it appear quite biased. Now it may well be that more Reps are dishonest, or more blatant in their abuses but it does make things look a little skewed. I'd have prefered to see the top 5 offenders from each party.
posted by zeoslap at 9:15 AM on September 27, 2005


What also amazes me is just how small these sums are (well the 700k over market for the house was quite a chunk)
posted by zeoslap at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2005


Now it may well be that more Reps are dishonest, or more blatant in their abuses but it does make things look a little skewed. I'd have prefered to see the top 5 offenders from each party.

Why? That's GUARANTEED to skew it. In fact, that's the typical asinine GOP retort to everything: "you're not showing the other side!" If the top 5 Repubs take in $1m in questionable money, but the top 5 Dems only take in $100k, what does that say?

I'm not gonna say that Democratic Congressfolks don't take dirty money, but that's just ignoring the elephant in the room.
posted by mkultra at 9:21 AM on September 27, 2005


Thank god Illinois isn't represented. We've got enough corruption at the state level.
posted by me3dia at 9:21 AM on September 27, 2005


zeoslap writes "The fact that there are so few Dems on the list does make it appear quite biased."

No, it just make it appear that the Dems are out of the government for 5 years now (more if you consider how long it has been since they had a majority capable of approving "interesting" legislation). Why the hell would a sensible CEO spend money on a minority CongressPerson?

And by the way, beware of the illusion of fairness - demanding "to see the top 5 offenders from each party" is like that time when PBS decided to be "fair" and invited a major "Holocaust denial" debunker for an interview, but also included, for fairness, the very same Holocaust denier she had just beaten to ashes in Court - the debunker naturally declined the invitation to debate with a proven liar.
posted by nkyad at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2005


me3dia, that's the first thing I looked for too "Hmm, anyone I'm voting for in here?"

Cause yeah, we've got more than enough corruption scandals for the moment.
posted by KirTakat at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2005


The thing I hate the most about the bitter partisanship in this country is the fact that people forget about the failings of government and focus on the failing of the other party, It makes people forget the root of the problem.
posted by pg at 9:38 AM on September 27, 2005


If the top 5 Repubs take in $1m in questionable money, but the top 5 Dems only take in $100k, what does that say?Weeeellll, mkultra, that would actually say a lot. It would go a long ways to proving your point and disproving my central thesis that pretty much everyone who's in congress is corrupt and that it's more or less equal (in my book corrupt is corrupt) and it seems that depending on a few other variables all of us out here in the masses end up favoring one side or the other and have a hard time admitting to ourselves that even the side we've picked sucks. But maybe I'm just a little jaded. Then again, maybe not... Until I see those numbers on all sides, I'm not going to believe that there isn't bias on the side of reporting these numbers as well. It's the only logical thing one can do, no matter what we suspect. If you believe there'd be nothing shown by looking at the most corrupt from each party, then why avoid it?
posted by incongruity at 9:38 AM on September 27, 2005


Bush?
posted by maxsparber at 9:40 AM on September 27, 2005


He is one cheap buy. That's a cost-effective bribe.

Not that Santorum isn't pure santorum, but there are interesting and fun inferential problems with stuff like this.

Here, Santorum gets a donation presumably related to introducing a bill to help Accuweather. But did he introduce the bill because he was paid to? Or did he introduce the bill to keep a few jobs in PA? Was he paid to do what he was going to do anyway? The general pattern of MCs getting large, corrupt-seeming donations from industries in their districts/states who they'd probably support anyway because their voters bloody well demand it is common.

It's also unclear which direction the power relation flows. We usually think of this as puny Congressmen dancing for corporate dollars, but the observed facts are also basically consistent with industries paying protection money to incumbents -- that's a real nice industry you got here... be a shame if someone were to regulate it.

Fun stuff to try to disentangle. Me, I hate time series stuff, so I stay away.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 AM on September 27, 2005


And yet they are the party of morality and ethics, to hear them talk about it.

Actually they are the Party of PR-So-Good-You'll-Punch-Your-Mama-In-The-Face.
posted by sourwookie at 9:54 AM on September 27, 2005


Good point nkyad. I guess what I was getting at is that this will be too easy to dismiss by those from the GOP as inherently biased and therefore not important, which it certainly is. It just would have been nice to have nipped the 'well your side does it too, it's just politics' argument in the bud.

ROU_X also makes a good point with regards power flow. If I lived in PA I think I'd want Santorum helping PA jobs (although probably not at the cost of restricting access to public data)

The whole house thing, had it gone unnoticed was a genius way of funneling cash to someone though..
posted by zeoslap at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2005


Frist just looks better and better. I almost wish he would get the Repub nomination next time around. THAT would be FUN.
posted by edgeways at 10:04 AM on September 27, 2005


It just would have been nice to have nipped the 'well your side does it too, it's just politics' argument in the bud.

Unless you show the good in contrast to the bad, it will further the feelings of disconnectedness and disenfranchisement that all of these stories about corruption tend to lead to. We can play the blame game all day long but in the end unless we find some public officials that all sides are willing to admit are straight & ethical, we're only digging ourselves deeper into this hole -- a hole we're all in together, republican, democrat, green, libertarian, whatever.
posted by incongruity at 10:12 AM on September 27, 2005


Our government is for sale, cheap. Just make sure you approach a Republican representative or Senator as they're alot more likely to take your bribes.

Unless Pennsylvania ousts Santorum by a wide margin in the next election, I may make a point of never going near that retarded damn state again. Rick Santorum is a festering boil on the taint of humanity.
posted by fenriq at 10:17 AM on September 27, 2005


If I lived in PA I think I'd want Santorum helping PA jobs

That assumes that other candidates wouldn't do so, which is, to use the technical term, "completely fucking nuts." Anybody PA elects, even people who aren't complete and utter embarrassments to the human race, could be expected to fight for PA for material benefits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on September 27, 2005


I am one proud Californian.
posted by killy willy at 10:24 AM on September 27, 2005


Fuckin' Republicans.

Fuckin' negroes!

Sounds different that way, doesn't it?
posted by undule at 10:39 AM on September 27, 2005


Race has nothing to do with corruptability; party does.

So yeah it both sounds different and is different.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:53 AM on September 27, 2005


Actually they are the Party of PR-So-Good-You'll-Punch-Your-Mama-In-The-Face.

sourwookie wins!
posted by mkultra at 10:57 AM on September 27, 2005


The fact that there are so few Dems on the list does make it appear quite biased. Now it may well be that more Reps are dishonest, or more blatant in their abuses but it does make things look a little skewed. I'd have prefered to see the top 5 offenders from each party.

I would think the GOP in control and less willing to oust their own makes this listing sensible: James Trafficant and Gary Condit, for example, were high on the scandalous Democrats list. They went away. I think it's safe to say it's not as easy when you're on the team in control. Hell, it took work to get Janklow out of office and he killed a man with his car.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:00 AM on September 27, 2005


Something important is being missed here.

Frist: by accounts he is an inside trader. It would be rather surprising if he is not indicted soon.

DeLay: as crooked as the day is long. He has not been indicted for jurisdictional reasons only (meaning, the bastard that would have to indict him is a good ol' boy).

Those are the only two you really need to know about. This is not isolated. Those are two of the most prominent Republicans you are going to find in congress. They are as honest as mafia bosses.

It's past the time to play the "both sides are corrupt" game. It's time to demand that Republicans fire these bastards and repudiate their mafia-boss practices. At least that's what time it is if you give a shit about good government.

Launch a full on, independent probe, and throw out every corrupt guy you find, R or D.

But hiding behind a bullshit line of "they're all corrupt" is just a really, really lame way of avoiding either a) criticizing the party you like, or b) helping the party you hate.

That's some really unfortunate partisanship.
posted by teece at 11:01 AM on September 27, 2005


Need I point out the obvious here? Three of them are named Rick or Richard. Our most famously corrupt politician was also named Richard! Coincidence...?

Yeah, I guess so.
posted by goatdog at 11:03 AM on September 27, 2005


Race has nothing to do with corruptability; party does

No, it doesn't. I'm no fan of Republican politics, but there are loads of honorable Republicans and it seems pretty stupid to make sweeping generalizations. I think it has more to do with who's in power and thus given greater opportunity for rape, pillage and the like.
posted by undule at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2005


So you're saying they're all dicks.
posted by wakko at 11:06 AM on September 27, 2005


Won't somebody save us from these doldrums? But who?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2005


So you're saying they're all dicks.

hah! Well, it's more like i'm saying power will reveal the dicks.
posted by undule at 11:19 AM on September 27, 2005


But who?

Wow, that's hilarious. Of course, I'm all for him getting elected, because it means six years he's out of the movies.
posted by mkultra at 11:22 AM on September 27, 2005


Pollomacho, ohyeah, Ben Assflap will save us all. At least he won't be able to do many more terribly stupid movies if he's in office. Though I must say he upgraded nicely from J.Lo.

And we just might end up having Warren Beatty running against Arnold Schwarzenegger in California.
posted by fenriq at 11:24 AM on September 27, 2005


Assuming there isn't an agenda skewing the results, I'd assume that the Republican heavy results can mostly be explained by the fact that a corrupt Democrat has less opportunity to deliver. CREW, does, however label themselves as a "progressive watchdog group" so it isn't unreasonable to assume that they are more at odds with the actions of right-leaning politicians than left-leaning.

That said, some of the charges seem kind of petty. I'm not a big fan of Santorum, but neither of the two listed charges (and apparently two makes you the 14th most corrupt person out of 535) seems like that big of a deal to me. If they had more on him, then it being the internet, they should have shared.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2005


Metafilter: Theyre All Dicks
posted by plexiwatt at 11:37 AM on September 27, 2005


You truly do get the government you deserve.
posted by teece at 11:43 AM on September 27, 2005


I'm no fan of Republican politics, but there are loads of honorable Republicans and it seems pretty stupid to make sweeping generalizations.

I'm not saying all Republicans are corrupt; I'm saying that because the prevailing ethos of the party is that the rich should benefit at the expense of the poor, it's unlikely to attract ethical members. I personally know a Republican state congresswoman who is kind, generous, and honest, but her friends and colleagues in the party are mostly hideous amoral assholes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:54 AM on September 27, 2005


neither of the two listed charges ... seems like that big of a deal to me.

You truly do get the government you deserve.

Amen.
posted by forrest at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2005


Things which should be obvious to anyone paying attention: our elections are a sham, our representatives gerrymander themselves into permanent seats, election finance is a rigged game of influence peddling and machine politics, ethics committees are neutered, government secrecy is increasing at a very alarming and unacceptable rate, the public is serially misinformed by a kept press and planted/paid propagandists...

and yet some people still manage to reserve more skepticism for CREW and public advocacy groups than they do for those corrupt criminals who profit by this charade. They read about the corruption rampant in their government and "bias!" is their first reaction.

Sad. Instead of confronting these people with pesky facts, we need to confront them with an aggressive regime of psychological cult deprogramming.
posted by edverb at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2005


I am one proud Californian.

Proud of what? There's three Californians in there. Not to mention Duke Cunningham (my fucking representative) is hands down the most corrupt son of a bitch on the list.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2005


The fact that there are so few Dems on the list does make it appear quite biased.

So you have other data showing a different result?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:38 PM on September 27, 2005


The fact that there are so few Dems on the list does make it appear quite biased.

Who bribes a minority party?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:48 PM on September 27, 2005


neither of the two listed charges ... seems like that big of a deal to me.

You truly do get the government you deserve.

Amen.


My point is not that they shouldn't be looked into and acted upon, but that if breaking residency rules to enroll your kids in a school district they're not entitled to and putting forth legislation favorable to a corporation in your jurisdiction after a $2,000 contribution was made (though the report offers no evidence of causality, let's assume it) makes you the 14th most corrupt congressman out of 535 of them, then we're not really in all that bad of shape.
posted by obfusciatrist at 12:50 PM on September 27, 2005


Who bribes a minority party?

Exactly. Democrats more or less ruled for 40 years in congress. By '94 they were corrupt. Gingrich and crew used that, rightly, to throw the corrupt bastards out, and much of the rest of the party, too. And the corrupt Democrats of the '80s and early '90s were saints compared to today's Republican.

The trouble is, modern Republicanism is corrupt to its core. Its central message is deceit and selfishness. In the vacuum of policy they create (by insisting that government can do no good, nor even be useful in most cases), you are almost guaranteed to get corrupt bastards in power. What is the modern Republican agenda for our government? It is, more than anything else, one of eliminating government. Tell me, how many honest people are going to sign up for a job they actually think is useless?

The modern Republican PR campaign of convincing Americans that all politicians are lying bastards, so vote for them, as they're the bastard with tax cut has done serious harm to this country. You can see that harm in this thread.

This downward trend is NOT inevitable. But if you assume it is from the beginning, you make it a self-fullfilling prophecy.
posted by teece at 12:56 PM on September 27, 2005


It appears to me that when one party controls both the legislative and the executive (and soon the judiciary too), it is a heck of a lot more likely to attract bribes than one that has little impact on either...

This said, including Santorum in the list (even if the whole AccuWeather business was quite whiffy), seems rather petty. There are a lot of other reasons to dislike him, but the accusations seem quite weak, compared with the rest of the 10.
posted by Skeptic at 1:03 PM on September 27, 2005


Pollomacho, ohyeah, Ben Assflap will save us all. At least he won't be able to do many more terribly stupid movies if he's in office. Though I must say he upgraded nicely from J.Lo.

Side note: why is it when a celebrity is a Democrat (or other liberal party member), people howl about "those hollywood types", but those same people vote Schwartzy and Reagan and Bono (Sonny) to political positions?
posted by davejay at 1:15 PM on September 27, 2005


Oh, hey, found the answer to my own question:

Here.
posted by davejay at 1:17 PM on September 27, 2005


So what's your threshold of crime, obfusciatrist? Unpaid parking tickets? $100k of graft? Voter fraud? Cocaine pinatas? Dead hookers?

I expect scrupulous adherence to the law from my representative (and I'll grant you that I'm disappointed more often than not). One has to draw the line somewhere -- it seems as if I'm just drawing it in a different place than others do. You see the situation as, "Wow! Only 14 people? That's good." I see it as, "What? As many as that? How many more are tied for 15th?"
posted by forrest at 2:11 PM on September 27, 2005


It's not that power corrupts, it's that power attracts the corruptible.

In other words, nobody who is capable of getting themselves elected should ever be given the job.

We'd might actually do better pulling a random Social Security number out of a hat and making that person President or whatever representative. It's better to have someone who's reluctant, but who will actually try to do a good job, than someone who is simply hungry for power.

None of what these louses are up to surprises me in the least.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:15 PM on September 27, 2005


HuronBob, I'm actually a she and I'd be happy to read more on here if I had the time to do so.
As for my guess on at least 10 of 13, call it a hunch. And btw, no one ever accused me of being a lazy liberal. A liberal, yes. But never a lazy one.
posted by GoodJob! at 4:28 PM on September 27, 2005


So our three branches of government are pretty much dominated by one party. What's that saying about absolute power again? This is sadly not surprising at all.
posted by blendor at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2005


One party is in power, and the country is going down the toilet. This is reason enough for me to focus on the problems with the majority. They are a problem for the country.
posted by Goofyy at 5:26 AM on September 28, 2005




DeLay indicted in campaign finance probe.
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on September 28, 2005


Let's hope the media attention to this indictment begins a domino affect, much like the corporate scandals of the past years.
posted by NationalKato at 10:09 AM on September 28, 2005


"An indictment does not force DeLay to resign as a member of Congress, but the GOP's rules demand that he resign his post as majority leader as he fights the charges." ...

"DeLay indicted, steps down. He could get up to two years if convicted." [Austin American-Statesman | September 28, 2005]
posted by ericb at 10:29 AM on September 28, 2005


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