CREW launches 2010 Corrupt Candidates site

CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has launched a new website that attempts to compile “the most corrupt and unethical candidates vying for federal office in 2010 . . . 11 candidates with scandal-littered pasts and histories of questionable ethics.”

The site is called Crooked Candidates, and it makes fascinating reading. Some of the juicier toadstools to pop up are these. (This is just a taste, seriously edited; the whole webpage is worth a read.)

Roy Blunt (U.S. Senate, Missouri): In 2003, Rep. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years to marry Philip Morris (now Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Before it was known publicly that Rep. Blunt and Ms. Perlman were dating [Blunt, as Majority Whip] tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors. Philip Morris/Altria and its subsidiaries contributed at least $217,000 [PDF] to campaign committees connected to Rep. Blunt from 1996 to 2006.

J.D. Hayworth (U.S. Senate, Arizona; John McCain’s opponent): While in Congress, Rep. Hayworth drew intense criticism for his extensive ties to Jack Abramoff and for employing his wife to run his political action committee (PAC). . . . Between 1999 and 2007, Rep. Hayworth’s wife, Mary, worked as the sole paid employee of TEAM PAC, his leadership PAC.  During that time, Ms. Hayworth was paid over $140,000.

Ed Martin (U.S. House, Missouri): [As Chief of Staff for Governor Matt Blunt] Martin sent emails from his government account to Republican Party activists . . . . [When state lawyer Scott Eckersly] notified Mr. Martin that deleting emails was a violation of state law and the governor’s office’s own policy, Mr. Martin fired him. . . . Mr. Eckersly subsequently brought a wrongful termination and defamation suit against Mr. Martin and other officials in the governor’s office. The State of Missouri ultimately agreed to a $500,000 settlement with Mr. Eckersly and spent an additional $1.3 million on legal fees – all because of Mr. Martin’s inappropriate conduct.

Kendrick Meek (U.S. Senate, Florida): Rep. Meek has been criticized for his relationship with developer Dennis Stackhouse, who is now awaiting trial for grand theft and organizing a scheme to defraud. Rep. Meek earmarked $1,072,750 million for Mr. Stackhouse’s development project and requested an additional $4 million in earmarks for Mr. Stackhouse, which were never awarded. . . . Mr. Stackhouse employed Rep. Meek’s mother [Mr. Meek’s predecessor in the U.S. House] as a consultant paying her $90,000.

Dino Rossi (U.S. Senate, Washington): Following his defeat in the 2004 gubernatorial race, Sen. Rossi started the Forward Washington Foundation. Sen. Rossi used the foundation to pay himself $75,000 a year while traveling the state giving speeches but little else. . . . In his run for governor in 2008, Sen. Rossi [a former real estate developer] was supported by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW). The BIAW spent $6.9 million largely to promote Sen. Rossi and criticize his opponent throughout the race.

And two heavy-weights from Florida:

Charlie Crist (U.S. Senate, Florida, Marco Rubio’s opponent): As [state] attorney general, Gov. Crist was criticized for failing to investigate those with whom he had political or financial ties. [He] failed to fully investigate boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman. Mr. Pearlman, who ran a $300 million investment scam, was eventually indicted by federal authorities and pled guilty of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges. [Mr. Pearlman] had donated at least $12,000 to Gov. Crist’s campaign.

Marco Rubio (U.S. Senate, Florida, Charlie Crist’s opponent): Mr. Rubio is currently implicated in a federal criminal investigation for the misuse of Florida Republican Party credit cards during his time as [Florida House] Speaker. . . . including car repairs, and grocery purchases[,] dinners and a Rubio family trip to a Georgia resort. Mr. Rubio also admitted he double-billed both the Republican Party and state taxpayers for eight flights totaling about $3,000 in 2007. . . .

While preparing to leave his position [as Speaker of the] Florida House of Representatives, he accepted a $69,000 per year, part-time, unadvertised professor position with Florida International University (FIU). [In the Florida House] Mr. Rubio helped steer at least $29 million to the university, leading FIU’s president at the time to say that Mr. Rubio was “worth every penny”.

Again, just a sample of the goods on these people; check out the full webpage for the rest, includin
g four guys I haven’t mentioned (yep, all guys).

Your tax dollars at work.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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