The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Corruption, Cash, and Congress

I found this interesting - half of of the respondents to a recent Gallup poll believe that most members of Congress are corrupt. Also, 55 percent of the respondents indicated that corruption will be a "very important" or "the most important" issue to consider when voting this November.

When you consider that super Republican lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, is getting ready to roll on potentially dozens of members of Congress (mostly Republican) this could get ugly. It's important to point out that this same poll does not indicate that people feel that Democratic members of Congress are exactly choir boys either, Democrats are viewed as being only slightly less corrupt than their Republican counterparts.

Will this affect Virginia's Congressional races this November? Maybe. Just today an article appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in which Eric Cantor (7th District) is dumping off $10,000 of Abramoff tainted money to a Richmond area charity. Of course, for several months we've been reading about Virgil Goode's (5th District) dubious involvement with a defense contractor which will likely cost one of Goode's Congressional colleagues, Duke Cunningham, a few years in Club Fed. Like Cantor, Goode donated these questionable campaign contributions to a charity in his District too. (Increased corruption among our Congressional leaders may not benefit the average voter, but at least it does appear to be a boon for charitable giving.)

You might recall that a few months ago I pointed out that all of Virginia's Congressional Republicans had accepted generous donations from Abramoff confidant Tom Delay (via ARMPAC), with Randy Forbes (4th District) being the "high roller" by accepting $30,000 in campaign cash. Also, don't forget that Bob McDonnell, the recently elected Attorney General in the Commonwealth, benefited from a hefty sum of campaign cash that apparently came from an Abramoff campaign cash shell game.

Unfortunatly corruption and influence peddling are not new to politics. But I believe part of the public perception of unbridled corruption among our Cogressional leaders is fueled by the two-year Congressional election cycle. The two-year Congressional election cycle means that members of Congress are always on the campaign trail trying to raise funds for the next election.

When you consider that a competitive Congressional election can cost anywhere from 1 million to 10 million dollars (I'm taking a guess here), there is no wonder why member of Congress always have their hands out looking for cash, and it's apparent that there are plenty of Abramoff type characters willing to dole cash out for something in return.

It will be interesting to see if Virginia's Republican Congressional incumbents (especially Cantor and Goode) will be able to convince their constituents that their apparent shady cash dealings are not emblematic of deep rooted corruption, but instead a necessary evil in order to maintain power in a cash fueled political environment.


  • At 1/04/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger valley iconoclast said…

    I can hear it now, "This is a partisan attack from a partisan prosecuter." Wait a second, this is coming from the Justice Dept. NPR reported that sources expect 5-10 Congressmen to be charged.

  • At 1/05/2006 9:19 PM, Blogger The Richmond Democrat said…

    Every time you attack Eric Cantor, an angel gets its wings.

  • At 1/06/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    that's funny..I'd love to see a credible candidate take on Cantor (not one with nickname of "cooter" either)...but with a district composed of the republican leaning western henrico to staunchly republican Shen. Valley (Page, parts of Green?) beating Cantor will be very difficult. Cantor could go on tv and club a baby seal and he'd probably still win, therefore giving back a few bucks from a shady character like Abramoff will not likely hurt him. too bad, when a politician is allowed to operate with total impunity it is never good..

  • At 1/06/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger zen said…

    What have been the self-regulating measures taken by Republicans since the house of Jack began to crumble? Give some of the money back or to charity, and say "hey look Democrats are bad too!" Is that really the kind of introspective leadership voters can continue to expect from the majority?

  • At 1/09/2006 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In relative terms, politics in the good old USA are civilized and progressive, but not necessairly free of corruption. Anyone who thinks that corruption is a thing of the past is dilusional and probably still believes in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Responsible Americans need to always remain alert and hold politicians feet to the fire. As they say "locks keep honest people honest." When ever you give the keys to the cash box to anyone, you better keep your eyes on them.


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