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"Culture of Corruption" Still Going Strong

April 25, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

It has been a tough month for Republicans when it comes to ethics. The Carpetbagger Report has this convenient rundown of currently ongoing ethics scandals involving Republican lawmakers:

>-FBI agents raided Rep. John Doolittle’s (R-Calif.) (pictured at right) home, forcing him to step down from his seat on the House Appropriations Committee.
>-FBI agents also raided Rep. <A href=“>Rick Renzi’s (R-Ariz.) family business, forcing him to resign his committee assignments.
>-FBI officials have been leaning on Rep. ”">Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) for additional information about his connections with Jack Abramoff.
>-Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is facing a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry, stemming from his efforts to push a federal prosecutor to bring a baseless charge against Democratic state officials in his home state.
>-The FBI is investigating Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) for a series of land deals.
>-A former aide to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has pleaded guilty to accepting illegal gifts from Abramoff.
>-The Justice Department investigation into former Rep. (and current Nevada governor) Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) has intensified.

Democrats seem to be behaving better than Republicans, but they do have their own ethics problems. Representative
William Jefferson’s (D, LA) house was raided by the FBI, who found $90,000 in alleged bribe money hidden in his freezer. The investigation is currently underway.

What to do about all this indiscretion? Some lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, have recently been pushing for the creation of an independent ethics enforcement office to enforce ethics rules and properly punish lawmakers when they break them. This bill would create the independent ethics office, and this one would create an Office of Public Integrity as a part of the congressional ethics committee.

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