Report documents 25 'most corrupt' in Congress

Published: Wednesday September 20, 2006

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A new report on political corruption in Washington offers exhaustive documentation of the unethical and possibly illegal activities of the 25 "most tainted" members of Congress.

Five of the names on the list are currently under federal investigation: Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Bill Frist (R-TN) and Representatives Jerry Lewis (R-CA), William Jefferson (D-LA), and Alan Mollohan (D-WV).

Others have come under scrutiny for ethical lapses involving campaign contributions, conflicts of interest, improper relationships with lobbyists, and failures to meet disclosure requirements.

"Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)" is the second annual report from the non-profit legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). An associated website, Beyond DeLay, offers both summary and detailed versions of CREW's analysis of the transgressions of all 25.

A majority of those listed are Republicans, several of whom have been linked to the spreading Jack Abramoff and "Duke" Cunningham scandals. As well as those cited as being under investigation, the Top 20 includes such high-profile names as Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Representatives Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Doolittle (R-CA), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Katherine Harris (R-FL), Richard Pombo (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), John Sweeney (R-NY), and Curt Weldon (R-PA). Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT) and J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) are among the dishonorable mentions.

The most prominent name on the dishonorable mention list is Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, cited for questionable real estate deals in which he earmarked highway construction money to increase the value of land he owned.

However, the report does not spare Democrats, even popular ones. As well as Representatives Jefferson and Mollohan, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) are both cited for using their offices to benefit family members.

Link to press release