Since 2005, the Watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has highlighted the most egregious violators of the public trust in its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report.
Their website also lists politicians under investigation for ethics violations.
Now, CREW has begun a list of Crooked Candidates to shine the spotlight on some of the lousy politicians vying for federal office in 2010.
With the caveat that a complaint is not a conviction and that Democrats and Republicans are both inclued in the listings, voters and financial contributors to John Kline’s Security and Freedom PAC might be interested in whom Mr. Kline donates monies. Obviously, all are Republicans and it is unlikely that Mr. Kline would be making a donation to any politician that is not in a competitive race or unable to generate political donations on their own.
Topping the Crooked Candidates list with $6,000 is Roy Blount ( current US House and candidate to represent Missouri in the US Senate); followed by $2,000 to Allen West (candidate for FL-22); and $1,000 to Tim Parker ( candidate for AR-02).
SIDENOTE : Mr. Blount has his own PAC and in 2008, it transferred $10,000 to Erik Paulsen (MN-03) and $9,999 to Michele Bachmann (MN-06) campaigns.
Mr. Kline’s PAC has also given monies to current members of Congress who are under investigation.
Here is CREW’s Spotlight on the Crooked Candidates :
Roy Blunt — Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri
Running for U.S. Senate, Missouri
Roy Blunt is a candidate in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in Missouri. For the last 14 years, Rep. Blunt has served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 7th congressional district. As a member of Congress, Rep. Blunt came under fire for a variety of issues including employing the same corrupt tactics that forced his mentor, former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, to resign. Rep. Blunt’s ethical issues were documented in CREW’s 2006 report on the most corrupt members of Congress.
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 – and only hours after Rep. Blunt assumed the role of Majority Whip – he tried to secretly insert a provision into Homeland Security legislation that would have benefitted Philip Morris, at the expense of competitors. Notably, Philip Morris/Altria and its subsidiaries contributed at least $217,000 to campaign committees connected to Rep. Blunt from 1996 to 2006.
Also in 2003, Rep. Blunt helped his son, Andrew Blunt, by inserting a provision into the $79 billion emergency appropriation for the war in Iraq to benefit U.S. shippers like United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp. Andrew Blunt lobbied on behalf of UPS in Missouri, and UPS and FedEx contributed at least $58,000 to Rep. Blunt from 2001 to 2006.
Family connections have also helped another of Rep. Blunt’s sons, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. Gov. Blunt received campaign contributions from nearly three dozen influential Missouri lobbyists and lawyers when he ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, half of whom had provided financial support to his father. Earlier in 2000, when Matt Blunt was running for Secretary of State, Rep. Blunt was involved in an apparent scheme, along with Rep. DeLay, to funnel money through a local party committee into Matt Blunt’s campaign committee.
Rep. Blunt and his staff had close connections to convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In June 2003, Mr. Abramoff persuaded then-Majority Leader DeLay to organize a letter, co-signed by then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, then-Whip Blunt, and then-Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, which endorsed a view of gambling law benefiting Mr. Abramoff’s client, the Louisiana Coushatta, by blocking gambling competition by another tribe. Mr. Abramoff had donated $8,500 to Rep. Blunt’s leadership PAC, Rely on Your Beliefs.
Timothy Griffin — Running for U.S. House, Arkansas
Timothy Griffin is the Republican nominee for Arkansas’s second congressional district.
Mr. Griffin was a former aide to and protégé of notorious political operative Karl Rove. In the 2004 presidential election, Mr. Griffin was the research director of the RNC where he may have spearheaded Republican vote caging efforts, a legally questionable direct mail campaign to disenfranchise poor, minority and military voters.
Mr. Griffin was most prominently touched by scandal when he was picked to replace a U.S. Attorney in Arkansas who, despite being highly regarded, had been asked to resign. Emails between the Justice Department and the White House revealed that despite his lack of prosecutorial experience, the selection of Mr. Griffin was personally important to Mr. Rove. Knowing that he would never pass muster at a Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Griffin was appointed interim U.S. Attorney for an indefinite time period under a misused, emergency provision of the PATRIOT Act.
Mr. Griffin resigned effective June 1, 2007, after less than six months on the job and in the midst of an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into the political motivations behind the U.S. Attorney scandal.
Allen West — Running for U.S. House, Florida
Lieutenant Colonel Allen West is a candidate in the Republican primary for Florida’s 22nd congressional district. Col. West previously served as a battalion commander in the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division in Iraq.
Col. West was stripped of his command and forced to resign for assaulting an Iraqi citizen during a harsh interrogation. In response to an intelligence report alleging a threat against Col. West and the men who traveled with him, he ordered the apprehension of Iraqi policeman Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi. Although it was not Col. West’s job to conduct interrogations, he nevertheless interrogated Mr. Hamoodi.
Col. West allowed his soldiers to beat Mr. Hamoodi on the head and body. After the beatings, Col. West threatened to kill Mr. Hamoodi and shoved his head into a sand-filled barrel into which he fired at least one gunshot. Col. West later admitted that he couldn’t remember how many shots had actually been fired. After the gun was fired, Mr. Hamoodi “admitted there would be attacks” and gave names of alleged conspirators but subsequent investigations found no evidence of a plot to kill Col. West.
At a military tribunal on the incident, Col. West admitted he was not sure any corroboration of a plot was ever found and he may have been wrong about Mr. Hamoodi. Although the tribunal found Col. West guilty of three counts of aggravated assault and thought that his actions merited a court martial, his admission of guilt and his long record in the Army allowed him to return home to retire with a mere $5,000 fine.