Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2008
WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 12/31/08 -- Judicial Watch, the public interest groupthat investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its2008 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list,in alphabetical order, includes:
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): Let's start with the fact that HillaryClinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State inthe Obama administration. According to the Ineligibility Clause of theUnited States Constitution, no member of Congress can be appointed to anoffice that has benefited from a salary increase during the time thatSenator or Representative served in Congress. A January 2008 ExecutiveOrder signed by President Bush during Hillary Clinton's current Senate termincreased the salary for Secretary of State, thereby rendering SenatorClinton ineligible for the position. (Congressional "fixes" do not addressthe constitutional issue. Her appointment would be in violation of theU.S. Constitution.) And then, of course, there is the long history ofcorrupt behavior that follows Hillary wherever she goes, includingChinagate, Filegate, pardons for terrorists, pardons for cash (for herbrothers), White House fundraising coffees, Whitewater, Travelgate lies,doing business with the State of Arkansas while her husband was governor,Web Hubbell, smear campaigns, false financial disclosure forms, John Huang,Chinese generals, the Lippo Group, paid sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom,cattle futures fraud, and stealing White House furniture. (This corruptionis still going strong. In 2008, Hillary also received an illegal foreigncampaign contribution in the form of a fundraising concert by music iconElton John.)
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT): Question: Which member of the U.S. Senate tookthe most campaign money from corrupt institutions Fannie Mae and FreddieMac? Answer: Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Giventhis fact there is little reason to wonder why Senator Dodd blocked reformproposals for Fannie and Freddie, calling them "ill advised." Dodd'swillingness to protect Fannie and Freddie would alone merit a spot on the"ten most corrupt list," but there is much more. Dodd was also nabbed foraccepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial.The Connecticut Senator admitted earlier this year that he was told in 2003when he refinanced two properties that he was being placed in Countrywide's"VIP Program," but said he believed this was simply a courtesy that hadnothing to do with his position in the U.S. Senate. This is either ablatant lie or horribly naïve for a man who has served in the Senate formore than 25 years and currently chairs the Senate Banking Committee thatregulates the mortgage industry. We're not buying it.
Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett (D-IL): CBS News once called Chicagopolitician 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 controversiallow-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 firedamage... In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complexan 11 on a 100-point scale -- a score so bad the buildings now facedemolition." According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, Jarrettis also linked to a series of other shady real estate scandals involvingconvicted felon and former Obama fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Jarretthas also been caught up in the Blagojevich scandal as Obama's Candidate #1for his senate seat. Most of Blagojevich's corrupt negotiations with theObama team centered on the possible Jarrett appointment. She remains mumon the scandal.
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA): Rep. Lewis may share a name with a world-renownedcomedian, but there's nothing funny about his addiction to influencepeddling and earmarking. Lewis, the senior Republican on the HouseAppropriations Committee, is under investigation for approving hundreds ofmillions of dollars in federal projects to benefit clients of one of hisbest friends, lobbyist and former Congressman Bill Lowery. According topress reports, Lowery, partners in his company and their clients donatedapproximately 37% of the funds collected by Lewis' campaign PAC over asix-year period (an estimated $480,000) in return. Lowery has benefitedhandsomely from his relationship to Lewis. His company more than tripledits income between 1998 and 2004 with help from Lewis, while increasing itsclient base from 21 clients to 101 over that same time period. Despitethese allegations, Lewis maintains his high-ranking position on the HouseAppropriations Committee.
President-Elect Barack Obama (D-IL): As Barack Obama assumes thepresidency he already brings to the White House a large amount of ethicalbaggage. Obama's presidential campaign had some of the ethical trimmingsof a Chicago ward election. It was marked with enormous corruption issues,ranging from its alliance with the sleazy ACORN operation's "voterregistration" and "get out the vote" efforts to its acceptance ofuntraceable, and in too many cases, illegal online contributions. Thereare also Obama's corrupt dealings with convicted felon Tony Rezko andunrepentant terrorist William Ayers, his below-market rate mortgage loans,his stock dealings and related "earmark" votes in the U.S. Senate, and hismissing or non-existent official papers from his years in the IllinoisState Senate. His ongoing cover up of his and his team's role in theBlagojevich "pay-to-play" scandal is ruining his presidency even before hetakes the oath of office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Last year House Speaker Nancy Pelosimade the "most corrupt" list for sneaking a $25 million earmark for herhusband into a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act passed byCongress. This year, Pelosi ran afoul of federal election law byparticipating in an illegal advertising campaign funded by Al Gore'snon-profit Alliance for Climate protection. The advertisement featuringPelosi ran at least 300 times nationally, including in the House speaker'sdistrict, during campaign season, representing an illegal in-kindcontribution to her campaign. Perhaps more disturbing than this incident,however, is the fact that Speaker Pelosi has allowed corruption to runrampant in Congress and has ignored serious incidents of crooked behaviorwithin her own party. Pelosi promised a new era of ethics enforcementduring the 2006 campaign and she has failed to deliver. Instead, shecontinues to protect the worst of the worst of political corruption in theHouse of Representatives.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rep. Charles Rangel, Chairman of the powerfulWays and Means Committee, took the unusual step of filing an ethicscomplaint against himself in 2008 related to scandals involving unpaidtaxes and rent-controlled apartments. This act was clearly a publicitystunt, but regardless, the House Ethics Committee took the New Yorkcongressman up on his request, and even took things a step further byexpanding the scope of its investigation. The initial transgressions thatled to the ethics panel probe involve: Rangel's failure to pay taxes on$75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property; hisefforts to use his influence to keep hold of highly coveted rent-controlledapartments in Harlem; and misusing his congressional office to fundraisefor his private Rangel Center. Now Congress is looking into whether or notRangel preserved a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange forfunding for the Rangel Center as well.
Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ): Three-term Republican congressman RickRenzi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2008 for conspiracy,extortion, money laundering and wire fraud. He allegedly used hisinfluence on a House Natural Resources Committee to orchestrate a land swapwith the federal government that financially benefited himself and hisassociates. The 49-year-old lawmaker, who owns an insurance business, isalso charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from insurance clients tofund his congressional campaign. A 26-page federal indictment lays out howthe legislator and his business associates conspired to obtain federalgovernment land by swapping land they owned together because the covetedpublic land sits above underground copper deposits. The indictment saysthat the congressman concealed nearly $1 million that he made for using hisinfluence to seal the land deals. No wonder Renzi decided to retire thisyear.
Former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK): "Uncle Ted" Stevens, the face of Alaskapolitics for 40 years and formerly the longest serving Republican in theU.S. Senate, was narrowly defeated in his campaign for re-election inNovember. But that's the least of his problems. Just days before theNovember election, Stevens was convicted on seven felony counts foraccepting illegal gifts and then lying about it. The establishment of bothpolitical parties came to Stevens' defense, including former Secretary ofState Colin Powell and Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, but to no avail.The jury found Stevens guilty on all counts. And now Stevens faces thepossibility of a 35-year prison sentence.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK): Carrying on Alaska's legacy of corruption, Rep. DonYoung is also the subject of an influence peddling investigation. (You mayrecall it was Young who attempted to push through the $200 million "Bridgeto Nowhere" boondoggle.) Well the Justice Department is also investigatingthe 18-term congressman for his corrupt ties to an oil services company,VECO, ironically the same company that furnished illegal gifts to SenatorTed Stevens. VECO allegedly used golf tournaments and pig roasts toillegally funnel cash to Young, which the 18-term congressman then failedto report on his financial disclosure forms. VECO Vice President RickSmith has already pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers to supportoil-friendly legislation. The Alaska Republican also added a $10 millionearmark for the construction of short stretch of road in Florida thatbenefited a wealthy campaign contributor. Real estate developer, DanielAronoff, had raised $40,000 for Young shortly before the earmark wasinserted.
Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC): By day, former North Carolina Senatorand Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards repeatedly professed hislove for his cancer-stricken wife during media interviews and campaignspeeches. By night, Edwards was carrying on an illicit sexual affair witha former campaign consultant, Rielle Hunter. Of course, Edwards denied theaffair (calling it "tabloid trash") even after he was trapped in thebasement of the Beverly Hilton hotel by reporters from the NationalEnquirer during one of his late-night liaisons with Ms. Hunter. WhileEdwards did finally admit to violating his marriage vows, questions remainas to whether or not he broke any laws. Edwards' former National FinanceChairman (who just passed away) paid large sums of money to Ms. Hunter, asmuch as $15,000 per month, in addition to covering Hunter's movingexpenses. Were these "hush funds" paid out of Edwards' campaign coffers?
Former Rep. William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson (D-LA): William "Dollar Bill"Jefferson was nabbed in a sting operation accepting a $100,000 bribe froman FBI informant to broker business deals in Africa. During hisconversation with the informant, who was wired, Jefferson famouslyremarked, "All these notes we're writing to each other, as if the FBI iswatching." Well, the FBI was watching (and listening) and during asubsequent search of Jefferson's home, investigators found $90,000 in cashstuffed in the congressman's freezer. (The marked bills were laterrecovered by federal authorities.) Jefferson allegedly intended to use themoney to bribe a Nigerian official over a business deal that would haveenriched himself and his family. Jefferson was widely expected to returnto Congress despite these serious allegations. However, in a December 2008special election surprise, voters decided instead to send "Dollar Bill"into retirement.
Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Judicial Watchneither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. For moreinformation, visit www.judicialwatch.org.