Eight Men (Plus) Out


The mid-term elections are over and the people have decided that they want their corrupt members of Congress to come back home. In a Bloomberg article today, Rep. Rahm Emanuel states that eight seats flipped due to the corrupt activities of the current, or recently resigned/indicted/plead guilty, occupant. After reviewing the Bloomberg article and the members of Congress tied to congressional scandals it seems that Rahm has presented a lowball number of congressmen sent home. So let’s take a look at these members of Congress who will no longer be wearing the congressional uniform of solid blue suits, American flag lapel pins, and an unfailing arrogance of power.

* Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.): Hayworth’s claim to corruption fame is that he “took at least $56,200 from” Jack Abramoff and used Abramoff’s skyboxes for five fundraisers since 1999. Hayworth did show his sweet side by giving $2,250 of the money he received from Casino Jack to help relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina (because they weren’t getting the money from anywhere else). But Hayworth’s greatest moments came during this, his final election campaign. In a book about illegal immigration that Hayworth released this year he advocated for the “Americanization” program that Henry Ford proposed in his essay “The International Jew.” Then, Hayworth dispatches his aides to a debate at a synagogue where Jonathan Tratt, one of the aides, stated that Hayworth, a Christian, is a “more observant Jew” than any of the actual Jews present. Tratt’s wife was confronted by some of these not-as-observant-as-J.D. Jews and told them, “No wonder there are anti-Semites.” No wonder you’re not a Congressman anymore.

* Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.): Does this guy even need to be profiled? Pombo, chairman of House Resources Committee, which oversees tribal concerns and U.S. protectorates, refused to investigate Jack Abramoff’s corrupt dealings with Indian tribes and the Northern Marianas Islands. Could it have been all the cash Abramoff stuffed into Pombo’s political action committee and campaign coffers? Or maybe it was the skybox tickets for his staffers? Rhetorical questions aside Pombo was known as an instrument of energy corporations and a favorite of former Rep. Tom “Make-my-day” DeLay. Voters got sick of Pombo, the classic Astroturf politician, and his schtick and decided that they’d rather not send a congressman to Washington who is already bought and paid for by.

*Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.): Taylor’s problems did not stem from sharing the name of a genocidal dictator. Taylor did, however, share his signature to help out Jack Abramoff. (Notice a pattern here.) Bloomberg’s Salant writes, “Taylor and [Sen. Conrad] Burns wrote a letter to the Interior Department in May 2003 seeking a $3 million grant for of one of Abramoff's clients, the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. They then included the allocation in a congressional spending measure.” Plus, Taylor seemed more concerned with friends in Russia than about the jobs in his district. Maybe he can look for work in one of those manufacturing factories that Western North Carolina is known for…oh wait, those don’t exist anymore?

*Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.): I think everyone expected Sherwood to choke on Tuesday after he, well, paid a hefty sum to a former mistress who had accused him of choking her. Not much else to say here. The guy’s acting like Wayne Brady on the Chapelle Show; who’s going to vote for that.

*Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.): When your nickname is “Crazy Curt” you know that you’re in electoral trouble. Just weeks before the election Weldon’s lobbyist daughter’s offices were raided along with the offices of a Russian energy company that Weldon had been helping out in his official role in Congress. Weldon has also made wild accusations about the war on terror and about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He even almost went on his own fact-finding mission to Iraq, Indiana Jones style, after refusing to believe that no weapons were found. Weldon’s next stop: a federal court house.

*Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.): Someone had to pay for the Mark Foley scandal and Sue Kelly wound up being that someone. Kelly, who sat on the page board when Foley was acting like Austin Powers on the Internet, refused to answer questions about Foley’s behavior, ran away from television reporters, and did not show up to a televised debate.

*Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.): Burns was the top recipient of corrupt cash from Jack Abramoff and penned a letter with fellow Abramoff pal Charles Taylor to help secure a $3 million grant for Abramoff’s client, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. Burns also decided to spend his reelection race attacking and cursing out firemen, declaring, a la Nixon, that President Bush has a secret plan to win in Iraq, and making generally racist and stereotypical comments about immigrants. Burns will now get to spend more time with his little Guatemalan friend.

*Reps. Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, and Mark Foley: These guys all already resigned their seats and one them is on the way to jail. Their late replacements all lost their respective elections and there’s no need to go back and review the various misdeeds of these three stooges.

That’s ten seats, nine in the House and one in the Senate, which flipped because of the member’s less than responsible activity. Don’t worry guys; your roster is likely to expand. A December 9th run-off between Dollar Bill Jefferson and Karen Carter should bring a Democratic member to the team. And let’s not forget the on-going federal investigations into seven members who are going to be sticking around.

I’d like to say it ain’t so, but this team is only going to get bigger.