Thursday, September 20, 2007

Will The Remaining Non-Corrupt Members of Our Government Please Raise Your Hands?

An investigation into the actions of someone who apparently bribed Rep Cunningham (R-CA) has subpoenaed records of 13 other members of Congress--who are refusing to comply:
Acting on advice of the House general counsel, all 13 members of Congress who have been subpoenaed for documents and testimony by the lawyer for a man accused of bribing jailed former Congressman Rep. Duke Cunningham will refuse to comply.

The subpoenas were issued for "documents and testimony" by the lawyer for Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor named in Cunningham's case. Cunningham pled guilty and is serving eight years in prison.

Five lawmakers received subpoenas for documents and testimony: House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX); Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA); House Defense Appropriations Chairman John Murtha (D-PA); and ranking House Appropriations Republican Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

Other members were served subpoenas requesting only testimony.

Among them were: House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), erstwhile House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI); Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep John Doolittle (R-CA), Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL), and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA).
Four Democrats, nine Republicans--about what I would expect, considering Republicans were in the majority, and therefore chairs of various committees and subcommittees (where it really helps most to have a good friend when contracts are being disbursed).

Of course, this is relatively minor compared to the big scandal--one that is beginning to dwarf the Jack Abramoff scandal. From the September 20, 2007
Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was charged with defrauding investors of $60 million in ``a massive Ponzi scheme'' and violating the federal campaign-finance law.

Federal prosecutors in New York filed a criminal complaint against Hsu, 56, today, accusing him of wire, mail and election fraud. Hsu also pressured investors to contribute to political candidates he favored, U.S. prosecutors said.

As managing director of Components Ltd. and Next Components Ltd., Hsu recruited investors by promising high returns on short- term investments, using money from new victims to pay off older ones, prosecutors said. Threatening to drop them, he forced clients to contribute ``tens of thousands of dollars'' to U.S. presidential and congressional candidates, prosecutors said.

``This case is about self-promotion and greed,'' U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said at a press conference today in Manhattan. ``Hsu perpetrated a massive Ponzi scheme to support his lavish life style and in the process stole tens of millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors.''

Hsu is being held by Colorado authorities on separate charges stemming from a 1991 case. In that incident, he entered a no-contest plea to grand theft after being charged with stealing $1 million from 20 investors in a scheme to buy and resell latex gloves that didn't exist.

Hsu failed to appear for sentencing in that case, and spent more than 15 years as a fugitive. He became a Democratic fundraiser and contributor, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and party committees, including U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, a Democrat from New York, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.

Federal Election Crime

Hsu also violated federal election laws by making more than $20,000 in political contributions to two unnamed federal candidates in the names of others, prosecutors said.
You know, I think someone could make that an important campaign slogan in the coming election, something like:
We pledge to make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.
There's just one problem: Nancy Pelosi's friends in the Democratic Party, people like Hillary Clinton, are at the core of this corruption. It doesn't do any good to say, "We're no more corrupt than Republicans," when it doesn't appear to be even close to true. But more importantly, Republican corruption seems to be at least American, red-white-and-blue corruption (just about money and unfair contract awards)--and not tainted with serious suspicions that the Chinese government has bought a big part of the Democratic Party.

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