Swamp on the Potomac

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When Nancy Pelosi was campaigning two years ago, she kept screeching the mantra, “We will drain the swamp of corruption in Washington.” This was an effective campaign slogan, given that several high-profile Republicans had been caught in ethical lapses. The public bought it and elected the most leftwing Congress in 70 years.

But the public forgot the first rule of draining swamps: don’t ever turn the job over to the gators. The Red Congress, run by Pelosi and Reid, has been vastly more corrupt than the Congress it replaced, with more scandals and pork-barrel spending than ever before.

Two especially egregious cases — both involving figures upon whom I have reflected before — are now prominently in the news. The first is Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who is looking at a public ethics trial for his numerous dubious dealings. These include submitting “inaccurate and incomplete financial disclosure statements,” in the meek words of the House Ethics Committee (oxymoronic, no?), using a rent-controlled New York apartment for his campaign office, and — most outrageous — failing to report something like $600,000 in income, mainly from his rental properties in the Dominican Republic.

This last charge is particularly interesting because until he stepped aside earlier this year in the face of the ethics probe, Rangel was chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which originates all tax legislation. And tax evasion — such as not stating your actual income — is the worst tax crime. This makes the irony complete: when Tim Geithner was selected to head the Treasury Department, it was revealed that he had evaded taxes as well. Great, isn’t it? The dudes most responsible for writing tax law and enforcing it are both tax cheats! It is simply too delicious!

The second shoe to drop is that of the repugnant race-baiter, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). She has also been brought before the ethics committee, charged with using her position as a member of the House Financial Services Committee to benefit her husband, one Sidney Williams. She is said to have arranged a meeting between government regulators and executives of OneUnited Bank, while failing to mention the fact that her hubby held at least a quarter-million bucks worth of its stock and had served on its board. As I write, she is threatened with an ethics trial.

The prospect of two high-profile ethics trials going on simultaneously in the fall makes more than a few Dems very nervous. The pressure is growing on these two birds to resign, but given the level of their narcissism and self-righteousness, they will likely hang in.

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