Sarah Palin almost gets it – Solving the graft problem in Congress

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Sarah Palin writes about graft inside the beltway, and the recently released “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer. Her suggestion to increase transparency and add layers of bureaucracy to monitor and restrict financial moves by members of Congress might work at the state level, but in Washington it would be treating symptoms, not the disease itself.

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New York: “Up to our eyeballs with corruption”

Two Democrats – a state assemblyman and a senator – have allegedly hoarded at least $1 million in bribes from a variety of constituents and lobbyists over the last five years including taking cash to block a Walmart superstore from being built in Brooklyn.

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Bell, Calif. City Council – Federal corruption versus local corruption

For years, my teachable moments have focused on retuning power to the states and the people. We have incrementally transferred power – like education funding – to the feds. As I point out in my symptoms of the disease series, corruption frequently is on display in Congress. Some say moving power to states and local communities will simply move the corruption. Maybe so, but we’d get some kick-ass local perp-walks.

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Symptom of the Disease: Congress-critter hands out scholarship dollars to relatives

I’ve been thinking about writing a book. Have discussed the project with Jim multiple times during the last 18 months. I’d call it Symptoms of the Disease of course, and it would highlight stories like Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) dishing out scholarships from a charitable foundation to family members.

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Convicted: Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez found guilty of bribery

After a long corruption investigation and a two-month trial, current Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez (D) was found guilty of bribery. He was found not guilty of fabricating evidence. Should he immediately resign?

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The going price of betrayal…

… has gone up a great deal.  Apparently, lying and double-crossing pays a great deal more than 30 pieces of silver. They say every man has his price.

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Charlie’s Angles…

Blame it on my misspent youth — “I remember Charlie’s Angels.”  Farah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Tiegs, big hair, bad guys and a resonant voice emitting from a intercom system. In this modern era of “re-imaginings” and “remakes,” let me make a modest proposal… I present, for your entertainment pleasure, “Charlie’s Angles.

In a world with insoluble problems, like the tax code, enter Charlie Rangel. The man who writes the tax code and, recently, has called for harder and harsher enforcement of these regulations by the IRS. Charlie, however, doesn’t always live up to the letter of the laws he rights — as Leona Helmsley might say — taxes are for the little people.

Enter “Charlie’s Angles”. When the men and women who purport to represent you don’t live up to the standards they themselves set, they must face a jury of their peers — the Ethics committee. A clever man, Charlie Rangel has the best defense that money can buy. What do you buy for the man who has everything? I haven’t the foggiest — but, apparently, he tried to the Ethics committee for himself.

” A few Democrats returned Rangel’s donations, including Ethics Committee member Peter Welch of Vermont, who said he returned Rangel’s $20,000 out of “an abundance of caution.”

Two other Democrats on the panel — Ben Chandler of Kentucky, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina — have refused to return Rangel’s contributions.

The House Ethics Committee’s wide-ranging investigation of Rangel has been expanded twice, as new revelations have come to light. “

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. The more light they shine on Charlie, the more they find.

Betcha Charlie wishes he could be a disembodied voice on an intercom, don’t ya think?

The first conviction

What was that San Fran Nan was saying about the “most ethical Congress ever?”

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Former U.S. Representative William Jefferson, who was caught with $90,000 in cash in his freezer, was found guilty on 11 of 16 charges related to a bribery and money laundering scandal, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

“The ex-Louisiana lawmaker was accused in 2007 of soliciting millions of dollars in bribes from a dozen companies while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.

In a search of his residence, FBI agents said they had found the $90,000 in a freezer.

Jefferson faces up to 150 years in prison and could face forfeiture of payments totaling $456,000, plus stock certificates, according a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia, where Jefferson was tried. Jefferson can appeal his conviction.”

One wonders if, in the tradition of Marion Barry or Sharpe James, William Jefferson will seek re-election.

Video: Why corruption thrives in Washington

Great video that you need to spend six minutes watching. No need to comment, other than saying that Dan Mitchell from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity is right on the money. Read more

Culture Of Corruption Part Deux

We have listed this before … but I may have missed a few of the new ones. It does seem to grow on a daily basis. Oh and yes … Chris Dodd (D-Countrywide) made the list.

The most recent candidate in the malleable ethics sweepstakes is Ron Sims, chosen Monday to be the deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As King County (Seattle) executive, Mr. Sims was fined $124,000 for “blatant” violations of Washington state’s public records act for failure to release documents with regard to financing of the stadium where the Seattle Seahawks play. Last month the state supreme court said the fine should be increased.

Congress has turned an indulgent eye to these ethical lapses because there are many in Congress who are guilty of the same, or worse. Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, remains chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee despite his failure to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income, and – according to a report issued Wednesday – repeatedly failing to comply with congressional financial disclosure rules. Sen. Chris Dodd (Democrat, Countrywide Mortgage) remains as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee despite having received a sweetheart loan from one of the worst of the subprime mortgage villains.

Woww … now Jack Kelly is using the (D_Countrywide) thing too!

And once again thanks to INSTAPUNDIT … damn.