Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Contact: Garrett Russo //
13 Oct 2010 //
Washington, D.C. – Corrupt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are polluting the United States Capitol. These members highlight the need for increased oversight by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), including expanding its reach to the Senate. Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released The Most Corrupt Members of Congress: Unfinished Business, highlighting the urgent need for active ethics enforcement in Congress. In fact, ethical lapses are the only true bipartisan activity in Washington today, and further highlight the need for increased enforcement in the 112th Congress. Many of these same characters will likely remain on the public payroll.
“Since CREW released our first Most Corrupt report in 2005, more than half of the unethical members of Congress we’ve highlighted have left office,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director. “That’s a pretty good batting average, but not good enough. 26 shady politicians remain, most of whom haven’t even been investigated by the congressional ethics committees. Congress must give the OCE the tools it needs to ensure that every corrupt politician is held accountable for his or her actions. In addition, the Senate would benefit from the creation of a similar office with jurisdiction to inquire into senatorial misdeeds.”
Currently the OCE has no subpoena power, a very limited time frame to investigate any allegations, and can only look at misconduct that occurred since March 2008. In spite of being forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back, the OCE has referred 13 cases to the House Ethics Committee for review, though the committee has taken action against only two. Even that limited success has prompted members of both parties to openly talk of stripping away the OCE’s authority — or even dismantling the office altogether — in the 112th Congress. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) has proposed legislation that would eviscerate the OCE, and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has said he wants to “take a look” at its usefulness.