11/30/2005: Josh Marshall exposes the Rethugnican talking point for the lie it is....
There is one Democratic member of Congress who is currently the target of a Justice Department investigation, Rep. William Jefferson of New Orleans. There are also various Democrats who received money from Jack Abramoff or his many clients.
But let's get real. The Abramoff story is overwhelmingly a Republican scandal. Abramoff's whole racket was as a paymaster and slush-funder for the DC GOP machine.
Then there are the half-a-dozen Republican members of Congress being investigated for criminal infractions arising out of the Abramoff investigation. Then there are all their staffers.
Then there is Abramoff-Norquist associate David Safavian, chief of procurement at OMB who was arrested and indicted for deceiving investigators in the Abramoff case.
Then there are the GOP capos who skimmed money off the Abramoff geyser or laundered money for him, folks like Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed.
The Duke Cunningham scandal is a Republican scandal, which we'll soon see spreads into the Rumsfeld Defense Department.
The Abramoff scandal tracks into the Interior Department and the GSA.
Then there's Tom DeLay, remember him, former House Majority Leader, now under indictment in Texas. Set aside that he's also implicated in the Abramoff scandal and quite probably the Duke Cunningham scandal as well.
And then in the other body you've got Sen. Bill Frist who is at the center of a criminal investigation into his stock sales. Frist is actually sort of unique in that it's possible he may not be guilty.
Two Republican members of Congress are under indictment.
Prosecutors have already accused two of taking bribes.
These few examples only scratch the surface. And I've left aside the Fitzgerald investigation because it doesn't turn on money but pure old-fashioned abuse of power.
Yet, Republican media types have been leaning hard yesterday and today on reporters to push the bipartisan corruption line, even though the simple facts of the case simply give no basis for it whatsoever.
It's actually close to laughable.
The simple truth is that Democrats in Washington today just aren't in a position to be corrupt on any serious scale for a simple reason: public corruption is almost always about selling power. Got no power and you've just got nothing to sell. Any idiot can understand that.
The level of public corruption coming to the surface in Washington today is not unprecedented. But there's a pretty good argument that you have to go back more than a hundred years to find anything comparable. And it's almost entirely limited to one party, the Republican party, because it all grows out of the same political machine.
But Republicans are pushing their line. And lots of reporters, not wanting trouble, are doing their best to comply.
Len on 11.30.05 @ 12:06 PM CST