The “Top Ten” list for 2011, in alphabetical order, includes: Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL); Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV); Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL); Attorney General Eric Holder; Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL); President Barack Obama; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA); Rep. Don Young (R-AK); Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA); and Rep. David Rivera (R-FL).
Now, after reviewing the year’s top scandals, we just could not stop at ten corrupt politicians so we’ve added seven additional names in a category we call “Dishonorable Mentions.” And they include in alphabetical order: Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC); Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA); Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY); Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
~ Due to the length of JW’s List I will give you a summary:
– Spencer Bachus (R-AL):
He has become the face of a congressional “insider trading” scandal that has rocked the Washington establishment as 2011 draws to a close. Rep. Spencer Bachus, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was one of the principal targets of a 60 Minutes investigative report on the scandal, which aired on CBS in September 2011.
–Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV):
John Ensign, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and former Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was forced to resign from office in May 2011 as the result of an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Senator Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of long-time staffer Douglas Hampton. Ensign then allegedly tried to cover up the affair by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors.
– Attorney General Eric Holder:
Attorney General Eric Holder now operates the most politicized and ideological DOJ in recent history. And revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer.
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, apparently in hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes. This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death.
The Fast and Furious operation by itself should have resulted in Holder’s resignation, but it is the cover-up that has prompted serious calls for Holder’s ouster.
– Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL):
In a year full of shocking congressional sex scandals, perhaps none is more serious than that involving Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, who allegedly sexually harassed a female government employee and then engaged in a cruel campaign of retaliation when she rebuffed his advances. (On March 7, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of the victim, Ms. Winsome Packer.)
– Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) and the Blagojevich Co-Conspirators:
It took more than two years and two trials, but disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod “Blago” Blagojevich was finally brought to justice on June 27, 2011, for a number of crimes, including his efforts to “sell” President Obama’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He became the state’s fourth governor, and one of at least 79 Illinois public officials, to be found guilty of a crime since 1972, proving that Illinois has certainly lived up to its reputation as a cesspool of corruption.
As the trial unfolded, it became clear that many hands were dirty in the Blago scandal. (See Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm “Rahmbo” Emanuel, who was finally forced to testify during this second Blago trial – for a whopping five minutes – and President Obama himself, who was interviewed by the FBI in the scandal even before he took office.)
But all of the focus now seems to center on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
– President Barack Obama: President Obama makes Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list for a fifth consecutive year.
~ Lots of juicy details in full report
(The former Illinois Senator was also a “Dishonorable Mention” in 2006.) And when it comes to Obama corruption, it may not get any bigger than Solyndra. Solyndra was once known as the poster child for the Obama administration’s massive “green energy” initiative, but it has become the poster child for the corruption that ensues when the government meddles in the private sector. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving 1,100 workers without jobs and the American taxpayers on the hook for $535 million thanks to an Obama administration stimulus loan guarantee.
– Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA):
A first-timer on Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, Rep. Laura Richardson is in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain. Rep. Richardson is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding allegations by former staff member Maria Angel Macias. Macias alleges that she was required by Richardson to order other staffers to run personal errands for the Democrat congresswoman – such as picking up her dry cleaning – and to work on her re-election campaign at taxpayer expense.
Richardson’s alleged behavior would violate federal law, which protects federal employees from “being forced by job-related threats or reprisals to donate to political candidates or causes.” House ethics rules also specify that “in no event may a member or office compel a House employee to do campaign work.”
– Rep. David Rivera (R-FL):
Rep. David Rivera, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 25th congressional district, is mired in numerous ethics controversies stemming from charges of money laundering and tax evasion schemes initiated when Rivera served in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican congressman, serving his first term, is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade Police public corruption unit, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office.
Of particular interest is the investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera’s dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008.
– Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA):
Rep. Maxine Waters is one of the most senior and one of the most outspoken members of Congress. She is also one of the most corrupt.
In August 2010, an investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. She was expected to face an ethics trial in late 2010, but the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings.
The delay apparently has less to do with evidence and more to do with infighting on the panel. Ultimately, an outside counsel was retained and a recommendation was expected by January 2, 2012. However, the Committee announced that the Waters probe will be extended until July 31, 2012.
– Rep. Don Young (R-AK):
Rep. Don Young may have achieved a new level of corruption in 2011. The House Ethics Committee announced just before Christmas that the Alaska Republican Congressman was cleared of allegations by the House Ethics Committee that he exceeded the limit on campaign donations to his legal defense fund – which was set up to defend Young against an entirely different set of corruption charges! There was good reason the House Ethics Committee released this decision after most of official Washington left for the Christmas holiday: because the Committee’s “exoneration” is a joke.
– Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC): Former Senator John Edwards, who was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004 and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, was indicted on June 3, 2011 by a grand jury in North Carolina on six felony charges, attributable – at least initially – to the cover-up of an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, who had been hired as a filmmaker for his campaign. After years of lies denying the relationship, Edwards finally admitted to the affair in the summer of 2008, but continued to claim until January 2010 that a child conceived out of wedlock, Frances Quinn Hunter, was not his child.
– Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Another perennial member of JW’s list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” will soon be saying goodbye to Congress.
Rep. Barney Frank blamed redistricting for his decision to leave office, but the congressional ethics investigation of the OneUnited Bank scandal also implicating California Rep. Maxine Waters must have helped make it easier for him to flee the capital. Both Frank and Waters improperly intervened to secure taxpayer TARP bailout money for the corruptly-run Massachusetts bank, earning them placements on the 2010 “Most Wanted” list.
NOTE: This one IS timely for 2012…
Former House Speaker and Current Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a career plagued by scandal and corruption.
Perhaps most notably, on January 22, 1997, by a vote of 395 to 28, the House of Representatives voted to reprimand Speaker Gingrich for “intentional…or reckless” disregard for House rules and ordered him to pay an unprecedented penalty of $300,000 for ethical wrongdoing. It was the first time in the 208-year history of the House that such a step against a Speaker had been taken. (Gingrich had faced a raft of charges for alleged ethics violations during his tenure in the House.)
Following a scathing special counsel report to the House Ethics Committee detailing the charges against Gingrich, the former Speaker admitted to providing “inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable” statements to congressional investigators. In a written statement, Gingrich stated that his actions “brought down on the people’s house a controversy which could weaken the faith people have in their government.”
During the current presidential campaign, Gingrich has continuously misled the American people about how he, like many retired politicians, participated in DC’s lucrative influence-peddling industry.
– Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: While Attorney General Eric Holder was busy attacking states seeking to protect themselves from uncontrolled illegal immigration in 2011, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano presided over a campaign to bypass Congress and provide amnesty to millions of illegal alien lawbreakers all in an obvious attempt to garner more Hispanic votes for Obama’s re-election.
– Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Despite the media firestorm over her military travel abuses ignited by a Judicial Watch investigation, Nancy Pelosi continued to use the United States Air Force as her own personal travel agency right up until her final days as House Speaker according to documents Judicial Watch uncovered from the Air Force in 2011.
– Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): One year after the House of Representatives voted 333-79 to “censure” Rep. Charles Rangel for serious incidents of corruption, Rangel remains in Congress. And, in fact, the very colleagues who shamed him in the well of Congress for his ethics violations, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, now stand by his side.
What does this prove? That Rangel did not receive proper punishment for the 13 violations articulated in the House Ethics Committee report.
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: What did Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discuss during all of those secret Obamacare meetings she held with Vice President Biden and Big Labor leaders? Obamacare waivers would be an excellent guess.
Read all the juicy details @ JW