Saturday, April 21, 2007

Politico: GOP Culture of Corruption As Big A Problem Now As In 2006

Front cover story this morning in The Politico:

A string of revelations this week offer potent evidence that the Republican Party hasn’t shaken its corruption woes and probably won’t before the 2008 elections.

Thursday’s raid of a business tied to Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi came less than a week after FBI agents rummaged through the home of California Rep. John Doolittle, who is under scrutiny for his relationship with Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist convicted last year on bribery related charges.

On Monday, news broke that Doolittle’s former chief of staff, Kevin A. Ring, had abruptly quit his lobbying job as the Justice Department investigation of his former boss intensified.

And, throughout the week, Republican lawmakers’ first-quarter reports revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees draining campaign reelection accounts.

Amid it all, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee desperately trying to fend off charges that he fired eight U.S. attorneys because they were not loyal enough to President Bush or aggressive enough in investigating Democrats.

“What it suggests is that, in 2008, the issue of competence and corruption will be on the front burner,” said Amy Walter, a nonpartisan political analyst at Cook Political Report. “The reality is that the political environment has gotten worse, not better, for Republicans, and we’re not seeing anything that suggests the tide that brought the Democrats into the majority in 2006 is ebbing.”

Democratic Congressman Bill Jefferson(you remember...the guy with the money hidden in the freezer) is also mired in a criminal probe, but so far, most of the criminal investigations we are hearing about are all directed at GOPers.

And that's as it should be.

I say that not because I think Democrats and liberals are less susceptible to crooked behavior than Repubs and conservatives.

I say that only because Republicans have had 6 years of one-party government and there has been an awful lot of criminal activity, nefariousness, nepotism and malfeasance that Repubs have engaged in over that period of time.

The Doolittle criminal probe and the Renzi criminal probes (there are two) are both aimed at alleged crimes committed when Rove and Company were trying to create their "Permanent Republican Majority."

You have to think that during that period of time when they ran the White House, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and of course the Department of Justice, crooked Repubs figured they could get away with just about anything because who was going to investigate them?

Now they have found some very vigorous oversight coming from Dems in the House and the Senate (Representative Henry Waxman - chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee - has been particularly vexing to Repubs.)

It's about time.

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