Mark Hemingway: Democrats' version of 'culture of corruption'

Reporting on corrupt Democrats these days is a bit like covering planes that land safely. If corrupt Democrats were once a rarity, these days it's hard to keep track of who is accused of what.

Two weeks ago, we learned Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., were both facing House ethics trials. Rangel is accused of everything from tax evasion to exchanging congressional favors for donations. Waters helped secure a $12 million TARP bailout for a bank in which her husband was a major investor.

President Obama headlined a fundraiser this past Thursday for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer who financed mob casinos with his failed family bank. Meanwhile, we still don't have a verdict in the trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, caught on tape by the feds allegedly trying to sell Obama's old Senate seat, the same seat Giannoulias is running to fill.

Speaking of filling Senate seats, with the death of Robert Byrd, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is vying for that vacant job. On Friday, it was revealed Manchin is under federal investigation. Stay tuned.

Then there's the Senate races in Pennsylvania and Colorado. The White House, perhaps illegally, dangled federal jobs to Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and Andrew Romanoff in failed attempts to get them to withdraw from their respective Democratic primaries.

Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., resigned in March, after it was revealed he was harassing male aides, one of whom accused Massa of “snorkeling” him while he slept. If you don't know what that means, you're one of the lucky ones.

Yet another New York Democrat, Rep. Gregory Meeks, is being investigated for promoting a charity for Hurricane Katrina victims that can't account for almost $30,000 of the $31,000 it raised. Last month, news broke that Meeks failed to report a shady $40,000 loan from a businessman in his district.

On Thursday, federal authorities indicted Paul Magliocchetti, head of the PMA lobbying firm — best known for funneling $2.3 million to recently deceased Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who then secured millions in congressional earmark spending that benefited PMA clients.

Even those in Congress who are already rich appear to be greedy. Following reports he was stashing his yacht in a tax haven, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., only recently paid up, even though his wife is worth hundreds of millions.

These scandals hark back to 2006, when a flurry of GOP scandals helped give Democrats control of Congress. Those GOP scandals, notably those involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff's cozy relations with House Whip Tom Delay, got — and deserved — widespread opprobrium.

So why isn't the media talking about a “culture of corruption” now that Democrats are in power? When Hassan Nemazee, who raised millions for Clinton and Obama's presidential campaigns, was convicted last month of defrauding banks to the tune of $292 million, the Washington Post put the news in a five-paragraph story on page A3. The New York Times ran the news on A22. Yet, both papers recently published front-page stories about two Republican fundraisers charged with fraud.

In 2006, newly minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously promised to run the “most ethical Congress ever.” (Pelosi has since been reported using military planes to ferry around her grandchildren at taxpayer expense.) When House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was recently asked whether Democrats had “drained the swamp” as Pelosi promised, he demurred, saying, “I didn't use that term.”

Maybe Hoyer won't call his own party corrupt, but an honest media should point out the dirty donkey in the living room. Fortunately, with all these dirty Democrats, voters will get a chance to clean house in November.

Mark Hemingway is an editorial page staff writer for The Washington Examiner. He can be reached at

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