Courtesy of CREW, Citizens for Responsibilty and Ethics in Washington has released their year end report. They note at the top of the page that despite the Democrat's election vow to institute more checks and balances on Congressional ethics, not a damn thing has changed in that regard. No new enforcement regulations were put into law in the 110th Congress, and a group of fuckwits tasked with providing a report as to what needed to be done has yet to issue said report. Now, on to the scandals!
Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens
Teddy Stevens had his house in Alaska raided by the FBI and IRS this year. "Stevens is under federal investigation for his dealings with Bill Allen, founder of VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company that has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts. Allen has admitted to paying for an addition to Sen. Stevens' home."
Senator Larry Craig
Larry has a penchant for airport restrooms and blowjobs , which caught the attention of most of the U.S. when he plead guilty to soliciting an undercover cop in a MN airport restroom. The Senate Ethics committee is *cough* investigating whether Craig violated the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in "improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate."
Vitter had a penchant for hookers and diapers evidently but the Senate isn’t investigating him for violating the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in “improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate”. But they are investigating Larry Craig..Go figure.
They are still missing. In April 2007, CREW released a report, WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House E-mails and the of the Presidential Records Act, disclosing that over five million e-mails (CREW subsequently learned that the actual number is over ten million) are missing from White House servers for a two and a half year period between 2003 and 2005. The White House has known about the missing e-mail since October 2005 and was provided a plan to recover them, but to date has taken no action.
In May 2007, CREW sued the Office of Administration (OA), the component of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) responsible for maintaining the White House servers, based on the OA’s failure to provide CREW with any documents in response to its FOIA request for the analyses and assessments the OA prepared of the missing e-mail problem. On September 25, 2007, CREW filed a second lawsuit against the EOP, the OA and the National Archives and Records Administration alleging violations of the Federal Records Act for failing to recover, restore and preserve the millions of missing White House e-mail. On November 12, 2007, District Judge Henry Kennedy granted CREW’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the White House from destroying back-up copies of millions of deleted emails while the lawsuit is pending. The White House has refused to confirm whether any of the backup tapes for the missing email still exist.
Murtha’s earmarking faux paux’s.
In 2007, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) inserted into the Energy and Water Appropriations bill a $1 million earmark to establish the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure - a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies Corporation, (CTC) a non-profit technology innovation center in Rep. Murtha’s district that has received hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks in recent years. CTC is a large non-profit that in 2005 received over $212 million in government grants. Since 2002, CTC’s employees and employees’ family members have donated over $115,000 to Rep. Murtha’s political committees and leadership PAC.
If that wasn’t enough, Murtha then threatened to screw with Rep. Mike Roger and any attempts he made to insert his own earmarks into defense appropriations bills. Murtha made similar threats to Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s (R-KS) earmarks. No investigations have taken place regarding any of the three above mentioned activities by John Murtha.
GSA’s Lurita Doan
The General Services Administrations head honcho, Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act by requiring GSA employees to attend meetings designed to educate them as to what needed to be done to elect more Rethugs in the next election cycle. These meetings were held on government property, during employee’s working hours which is a direct violation of the Hatch Act. Nothing has been done to date and Ms. Doan is still running the show at the GSA. Ms. Doan has also been criticized for proposing to cut $5 million from the GSA Inspector General’s budget to limit the office’s ability to audit contracts for fraud and waste.
This burro has been beat to death by all of us and although Gonzo eventually resigned..nothing has come of the threatened contempt charges so far against former White House Counsel Harriet Miers or Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to testify after receiving congressional subpoena’s to do so. No charges have been lodged against Gonzo either. Stay tuned, this one might not be over..
No Child Left Behind funds directed to Bush fundraisers who provide inadequate reading materials for kids
In 2006, the Department of Education’s (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released a report finding he Bush administration’s implementation of the Reading First Initiative was beset with cronyism. In response to that report, CREW filed a lawsuit against the DOE and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings alleging that the DOE failed to comply with any of the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act which requires federally created panels include balanced nd representative viewpoints, hold open meetings and make their notes and records available to the public. In 2007, yet another critical report by the DOE’s IG found the Reading First training program was promoting certain reading materials to financially benefit a select group of Bush dministration donors. CREW’s suit is forcing the DOE to come clean about leaving behind the education of our nation’s children for the privileged Bush administration loyalists and donors.
Court decision regarding search of Jefferson’s office limits ability of DOJ to investigate other corrupt lawmakers
In considering whether the search of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) congressional office violated the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the court of appeals held — for the first time — that not only can legislative material not be used in prosecuting a member of Congress, but that Justice Department officials, including FBI agents, may not even accidentally see such material. This decision has emboldened members of Congress under federal investigation, who are prohibiting interviews with congressional staff and refusing to hand over documents, and is hampering public corruption investigations.
A wiretap is one example of a law enforcement tool endangered by the ruling because it would be nearly impossible for an agent monitoring the wiretap to be sure no legislative information was accidentally captured.
Between March and July 2006, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the media reported that dangerous levels of formaldehyde had been found in trailers FEMA provided to house victims of Hurricane Katrina. Concerned about legal liability, FEMA suppressed warnings about the health problems and resisted testing the trailers. Instead, FEMA downplayed the problem, even issuing a public statement claiming here was no ongoing risk. Although 52,000 of these trailers are still occupied, FEMA prohibits its own staff from even briefly stepping inside unoccupied trailers, claiming they are “too dangerous.”
So there you have it, CREW’s short list of nasty, ugly ethics blunders within our hallowed halls of Congress and the White House my dear reader. We can only hope that next years list will be shorter..but I ain’t holding my breath on that one.