Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | February 3, 2010

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Becky FengerTen most wanted

Years ago I became acquainted with the organization Judicial Watch, Inc. and have pretty much stayed a fan of theirs ever since. How could anyone not admire a group whose purpose is to "promote integrity, transparency and accountability in government, politics and the law”?

The motto of Judicial Watch is "Because no one is above the law," and they go after the big fish with nonpartisan abandon, educating the public about abuses and misconduct of public officials. Since you may have missed their press release, here is a shortened version of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2009 in alphabetical order:

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): He's a repeat from 2008 when he made the list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the sweetheart loan deal from Countrywide Financial. Lately he undervalued a property he owns in Ireland. He got a good buy on the land in return for helping get a presidential pardon from Bill Clinton for a friend and business associate. Yet, he remains the head of the Senate Banking Committee.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV): It's the old sex and cover-up story. Ensign admitted to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the senator in exchange for his silence. The former staffer immediately began to lobby Ensign's office upon leaving his job, which is against the law until a year has passed. But Ensign was more concerned with his staffer's silence than the potential criminal offence.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the strong urging of Frank, even though the bank in no way qualified for the federal funds, used poor lending practices and is shaky to this day. Judicial Watch found documents that showed the members of Congress were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "playing fast and loose" with accounting rules and risk assessment. Despite all this, Frank publicly insisted that Freddie and Fannie were not in crisis and that there was no threat to the U.S. Treasury.

Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: He failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on his big earnings at the International Monetary Fund until he was picked by Obama to head the Treasury. He was chest deep in the AIG bonus scandal and is still being questioned on it. It makes his household illegal alien only another oversight.

Attorney General Eric Holder: Where to start? As JW points out, Holder has a terrible ethics record which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets, undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr, bypassing Justice Department procedure to push through scandalous presidential pardons, including for 16 members of a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group. His former law firm is providing free legal help to terrorists at Gitmo.

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL): Involved up to their eyeballs in the scheme by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to sell Obama's then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Jackson reportedly offered Blago $1.5 million for the seat. That's peanuts, and these two are crooked as pretzels.

President Barack Obama: He brought Chicago-style corruption to the White House and secrecy where he promised transparency.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: She lied when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA's use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. Worse, she constantly ignores serious instances of corruption by her own party members.

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA): He is under investigation for his corrupt relationship with defense lobbying PMA Group for which he gave them millions in earmarks. His nephew got $4 million in Defense Dept. no-bid contracts. All in the family.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Although in charge of writing tax policy for the entire nation, he "forgot" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income and "forgot" about $1 million in assets.
When caught, he gave donations to 119 members of Congress to get him out of his mess, including three on the House Ethics Committee. Years ago, William F. Buckley, Jr. accused him in a debate of flat out making up statistics to bolster his point. Rangel just laughed when Buckley caught him. He's still laughing as he serves as Chairman of the House Ways and
Means Committee, the best possible place (other than Appropriations) to dole out favors.
You and I might have a different list, but Judicial Watch gave us a place to start.