December 19, 2008
Today's news in the Washington Post that the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to uncover the massive ($50 billion) Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff will no doubt divert attention from Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, sleazebag extraordinaire. Contrary to widespread belief, however, Blagojevich is not an exceptional case among Democratic leaders. Indeed, they have been implicated in scandals at least as often as the Republicans, even before they retook control of Congress in the 2006 elections. So, for the benefit of those folks who haven't been keeping score, here's a quick "refresher course" on major misdeeds by the Democrats over the past few years, culled from my voluminous blog archives. They are listed in reverse chronological order:
Financial oversight failure, Sept. 2008: As major financial institutions crumbled and Wall Street panicked, it was learned that the top three members of Congress who received campaign donations from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac (where the crisis began) were Democratic Senators Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and John Kerry. Result: Mounting evidence that mortgage-based securities were shaky at best was covered up by regulators who were subjected to heavy political pressure. The Clinton administration's big push in the 1990s to get lenders to approve mortgage loans to people who would not otherwise qualify was what started the road to catastrophe.
Sex scandal, Mar. 2008: New York Governor Elliott Spitzer resigned after his involvement as a client with a prostitution ring was exposed; he was replaced by David Paterson, who now has to choose Hillary Clinton's replacement.
Voter registration fraud, July 2007: "Meanwhile, in Washington state, seven paid employees and supervisors of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were indicted for having 'allegedly committed the biggest voter-registration fraud in state history.'" Under the Obama administration, it is expected, "community organizers" affiliated with ACORN will get federal subsidies.
Legislator corruption, May 2006: "Alan Mollohan of West Virginia resigned from the House Ethics Committee last month after it was reported that he steered Federal contracts to companies that contributed to his campaign ... and William Jefferson of Louisiana is under pressure to resign his seat for flagrant spending of public money to maintain an extravagant lifestyle." (Jefferson is the guy who hid dirty money in his freezer.)
Campaign finance violations, Jan. 2006: "Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign received a fine of $35,000 for failing to report over $700,000 in fund-raising expenses." Also, "The ten-year inquiry into former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros for tax evasion and was finally closed without any indictments, and the prosecutor blamed former Clinton officials for successfully stonewalling."
Dirty campaign tricks, Nov. 2005: Just before the election, the Kaine campaign sent out a mailer criticizing Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore; the card was emblazoned with a GOP elephant logo, clearly implying that it had been sent from a Republican organization. NOT!
Archive theft / coverup, Apr. 2005 and Dec. 2006: "Former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to charges of stealing government documents from the National Archives and will avoid jail time." It was later learned that "Sandy Burglar" hid or destroyed some of those documents, "presumably to cover up the failure of the Clinton administration to deal with Al Qaeda in a timely fashion."
Network news disinformation, Sept. 2004: CBS was exposed as a mouthpiece for the Kerry-Edwards campaign via a bogus "60 Minutes" piece on Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard based on fabricated evidence, thus ending the careers of Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes.
Cyberspace deceit / coverup, Aug. 2004: "The restorehonesty.com Web site, which featured anti-Bush diatribes from former Ambassador Joseph Wilson" as part of the Democrats' presidential campaign efforts, was effectively shut down. Just as I had predicted, after Wilson's own dishonesty about how he became involved in investigating the African uranium ore case was exposed, the site's previous content was erased, thereby covering up the Democrats' prior deceit. All that remained was a link to John Kerry's campaign Web site. The "Swift Boat" ads attacking John Kerry paled in comparison to the Wilson-Plame disinformation campaign.
Fundraising improprieties, July 2002: On Sept. 11 2001, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "received a total of $13,850 from 22 Arab and/or Muslim contributors, almost all from out of state. Did the price of serving as a mouthpiece for radical Islam go up on that fateful day?" (McKinney later gained attention by accusing the Bush administration of ignoring warnings about a terrorist attack prior to 9/11.)
Illegal candidate switch, Oct. 2002: After incumbent Senator Robert Torricelli withdrew from the race in the midst of a corruption scandal, the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed the Democrats to put the name of Frank Lautenberg on the ballot several weeks after the legal deadline. The judges accepted the Democrats' argument that voters deserved a "meaningful choice," whatever the legalities. (In Hawaii, meanwhile, Democrat Patsy Mink was posthumously elected to Congress five weeks after passing away. Is a dead candidate a "meaningful choice"?)
(The months cited above refer to the blog posts, which generally coincide with when the misdeeds took place.) I'm sure there were many other such cases of Democratic corruption, but these are the ones that I commented on at the time. Make of it what you will. And, for the record, I do not mean to excuse or minimize the numerous ethical or administrative lapses on the part of the Bush administration.