October 06, 2005

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"?

Howard Dean and the Democrats have alleged that the Republicans have a "culture of corruption". See my previous post here for more thoughts on this allegation.

As I mention in my previous post, corruption is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Both parties have issues and we, the American public, deserve better from our elected representatives. Yet, Howard Dean and the Democrats seem content to make "Republican corruption" the only issue. So, in honor of Howie, this will be the first post in a series that will outline the Democrats "Culture of Corruption":

Democratic Senator Jon Corzine headlined a political fundraiser that included a half dozen attorneys who were barred under state law from giving to New Jersey campaigns:

A political fund-raiser headlined by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jon Corzine included a half-dozen attorneys barred under state law from giving to New Jersey campaigns, according to a published report. The Star-Ledger of Newark reported in Saturday newspapers that the lawyers, prevented from giving under the state's recently enacted "pay-to-play" law, were able to enjoy seared tuna and jicama cabbage slaw with Corzine because their checks were to the Democratic National Committee, not the candidate.

The fund-raiser last Tuesday at a posh Manhattan restaurant raised $2 million for the national committee.

The Corzine campaign expects the DNC to pour as much as $2 million to $3 million in New Jersey before the Nov. 8 election.

Other notables at Tuesday's event included DNC Chairman Howard Dean, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerry and Vernon Jordan, a confidant of former President Bill Clinton.

Moreover, the New York Daily News looks at Hillary Clinton's attempt to quash the report of a special investigation that alleges potential abuses of power by the Clinton administration:

WASHINGTON - The independent counsel investigation that led to the conviction of a former Clinton administration housing chief could come back to haunt Sen. Hillary Clinton. The Daily News has learned that lawyers are fighting to suppress a potentially embarrassing final report from the probe that found Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros lied to the FBI about paying $250,000 in hush money to his ex-mistress.

Cisneros paid a $10,000 fine after he was found guilty in 1999 and was later pardoned by Bill Clinton. And though neither Hillary Clinton nor her husband was targeted by independent counsel David Barrett, his 420-page final report sent to a special court 13 months ago will include alleged abuses of power by his administration, sources told The News.

After Cisneros was convicted, Barrett started looking into allegations that the IRS and Justice Department aides stymied a tax fraud case against the disgraced Housing and Urban Development secretary and audited Clinton critics.

Ex-IRS Commissioner Peggy Richardson, who remains a close friend of the Clintons, is among the officials cited in the report, sources said.

Lawyers at the Washington firm Williams and Connolly who work for Cisnero and both Clintons have argued to judges overseeing the case that allegations of illegal activity, for which no charges were filed, should be snipped before the report is made public.

Of course, who can forget the two Democratic Senate Campaign Committee staffers (who were on Senator Chuck Schumer's staff) that are being investigated for hacking into a Republican opponent's credit report?

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Charles Schumer was one of the first politicians to rail against the evils of identity theft, but lately his signature issue has turned into a singular headache.

Schumer, who has led campaigns against Wheaties price-gouging and exorbitant ATM fees, recently sponsored legislation to protect corporate consumer data. He's also been pressuring legal publishers to block snoopers from accessing Social Security numbers online.

So imagine the glee of Republicans when they learned last month that two Schumer staffers at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had hacked into the credit report of Maryland Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, according to committee officials.

"It's an ironic and uncomfortable position for Chuck," said Baruch College politics professor Doug Muzzio.

In July, DSCC research director Katie Barge, 26, and researcher Lauren Weiner, 25, allegedly accessed Steele's report using his Social Security number in preparation for a possible Senate bid by Steele.

Unethical and illegal activities from a Democrat? Oh, come on... only Republicans are corrupt? Right Howie?

The DSCC was smart to seek the resignation of the two staffers in an attempt to distance the committee from the crime. However, if this was unauthorized behavior of two minor staffers, how come the DSCC is paying the legal bills for the two staffers?

The two women at the center of the FBI probe [DSCC researchers Katie Barge, 26, and Lauren Weiner, 25] have been keeping a low profile. Both have resigned from the committee.

Barge and Weiner declined to comment through their lawyer, William Lawler III, the ex-president of the Washington, D.C., bar association who represented former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey during his 2004 sex scandal. The DSCC is picking up the tab for Lawler, who charges as much as $400 an hour.

Barge quit a job overseeing a research staff of six at David Brock's liberal watchdog organization Media Matters to take the DSCC job. She is highly regarded in the tight-knit community of Democratic researchers, friends and associates say.

My guess would be that the legal bills are being paid so that the DSCC can control the two staffers' cooperation with the authorities. After all, the two staffers are less likely to turn on their bosses if their bosses are still friendly and paying their legal bills.

Hat Tip: NoAgend.org. It is a great site - check it out.

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