House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asserted once again the Democrats status as the anti-corruption party a press briefing today, despite the ethical challenges faced even her prominent colleagues.
Pelosi discussed the causes for Democratic Party’s 2006 electoral success. “There was ending the culture of corruption that existed under Republicans here,” Pelosi said before calling for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to imitate her tactic for addressing a thorny issues as he carries on with the fiscal cliff negotiations.
How well did Pelosi succeed in “ending the culture of corruption”? Rep. Shelly Berkley, D-Nev., is leaving D.C. after losing a Senate campaign largely because of ethical problems, including how she used her position as lawmaker to prevent the closure of a kidney care center — a kidney care center that paid her husband almost three quarters of a million dollars a year.
“Ms. Berkley’s actions were among a series over the last five years in which she pushed legislation or twisted the arms of federal regulators to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner,” The New York Times wrote in an item on the kidney care center in 2011.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will be the new top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. This promotion comes after Waters’ chief of staff (her grandson) was recently admonished for helping her husband’s bank get a $12 million federal bailout. Waters herself avoided ethics charges.
President Obama and Pelosi held fundraisers during this recent election with Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., after Rangel was censured for 11 ethics violations.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., just resigned his seat, in part due to a federal investigation into whether “his supporters offered to raise as much as $6 million for [then Illinois Governor Rod] Blagojevich in return for the governor appointing him to the Senate seat vacated by the president-elect.”
Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., resigned in 2010 in the midst of an ethics investigation into a sex scandal pertaining to Massa and his young aides.
Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., died in 2010. “Several months before Rep. John Murtha died, the FBI was moving to expand its ongoing investigation of the powerful lawmaker into a full public corruption probe,” The Washington Post noted. “No charges were brought, but federal agents spent more than two years examining whether the Pennsylvania Democrat used his perch as defense appropriations chairman — and his control of billions of dollars in federal defense contracts — to benefit select contractors and lobbyists.”
That’s an incomplete look at the House Democrats whom Pelosi leads. It doesn’t include the questions recently raised about Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., or the questionable decisions coming out of the executive branch. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security told law enforcement to delay the deportation of an illegal immigrant (and registered sex offender) working as an intern for Menendez until after the 2012 election, according to the Associated Press.