corruption

Public Campaign Action Fund is now Every Voice. Check out our new website: EveryVoice.org

Ciao for Now

There's only so long a Representative can be the subject of an FBI investigation into a shady land deal with a former business partner and campaign donor before he gets the urge to hang up his spurs and seek out a more private life. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) has announced he won't seek re-election in 2008.

Background on Ney Saga

As the ex-chief of staff to ex-Rep. Bob Ney awaits his sentencing for his role in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, details emerge about his cooperation with the FBI to bring down his boss. Will Heaton, who was Ney's chief of staff for five years, wore a wire during key conversations with Ney, and his cooperation proved pivotal in the prosecution of the lawmaker.

Jefferson Update

Looks like the House Ethics Committee investigation of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) will be postponed until his after he heads to court in January to face indictment on 16 counts including soliciting bribes, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire fraud, conspiracy, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to avoid "interfering with the criminal prosecution and related ongoing investigation."

Today's Scandal Box Scores

It's tough being a sitting member of Congress under investigation. Nobody donates to your legal defense fund and The Politico makes Incredible Hulk jokes at your expense.

Scandal's Northern Exposure

That's it, I want the FBI to raid MY home. All the cool kids are having the contents of their desks carried out in evidence bags, and I want in on the fun. Sen. Ted Stevens' Girdwood, Alaska home was picked over by federal investigators yesterday for documents related to the Senator's dealing with Veco, the oil services company tied to a scheme to bribe Alaskan legislators.

Follow the Doolittle

Aw, it's sad when an ethically-challenged member of Congress can barely muster up the energy to proclaim his questionable innocence. Rep. John Doolittle's date with indictment destiny draws near, and while his feet are currently closest to the fire, he's by no means alone among his congressional brethren when it comes to fearing the FBI's knock on the door, as this New York Times article explains.

The Criminal Industry

Note to recent college graduates: go into business defending members of Congress. You will make a killing. Young, Stevens, Doolittle, Hayworth, Lewis, Renzi, Mollohan, Jefferson, Weldon...the Justice Deparment has a bone to pick with all of them so they're shelling out hundreds of thousands in legal fees. No such thing as a free lunch, especially when Abramoff and his ilk are buying.

What Does Money Buy

Shankar Vedatam writes in the "Department of Human Behavior" feature in the Washington Post about what exactly campaign contributions buy you on Capitol Hill: he says it's not a matter of buying votes, but of "cutting in line" as it were when it comes to setting legislative priorities.

 

Vedatam cites this anecdote to illustrate the distinction:

 

Sound familiar?

Zheng Xiaoyu, the prominent Chinese official executed for bribery this week, offered a written apology from prison back in March in an effort to receive a more lenient punishment. It was entitled "How I Look on My Mistakes."

 

An excerpt:

 

Checklist

The Politico notes the many scandals emanating from the Capitol and wants Hill staffers to be prepared in case another of their bosses gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so they've put together a handy little checklist: "Top 10 ways to know your boss is a crook." Take note: if the Senator or Representative you work for is asking for your freezer dimensions, it might be time to dust off that resume.