Monday, October 31, 2005

Thick as Thieves  

Have you noticed there've been an awful lot of politicians getting busted lately? I was curious so I started to make a list.

  • Jack Abramoff, famously influential Republican lobbyist with close connections to Tom DeLay. Indicted on five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, August 11, 2005.

  • Adam Kidan, influential Republican lobbyist and Abramoff's partner. Indicted on five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, August 11, 2005.

  • David Safavian, Republican procurement chief at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Arrested and subsequently indicted for five counts of obstruction and related charges for lying to investigators in an attempt to cover up Abramoff's dealings. September 19, 2005.

  • Senator Bill Frist, Republican Senate Majority Leader. Under formal investigation by the SEC for insider trading, for dumping large quantities of HCA stock just before a bad quarterly report. Frist originally claimed the stock was held in a blind trust, but that was proven completely false. No indictment yet, but seems very likely. September 23, 2005 and ongoing.

  • Congressman Tom DeLay, Republican House Majority Leader. Indicted on charges of conspiracy to break campaign finance laws. Indicted again on charges of felony money laundering just a few days later. September 28, 2005 and October 3, 2005.

  • Tom Noe, Ohio rare-coin dealer and top Republican donor. Indicted on three counts for illegally circumventing campaign finance limits to funnel money to the 2004 election campaign of George W. Bush. Also continues to be under heavy investigation for losing up to $12 million belonging to the State of Ohio that Republican buddies got the Workers' Comp Bureau to invest in an unprecedented, unsecured, and unaudited "rare coin mutual fund" that he ran. It's not a big leap to suggest that he may have been embezzling from the state and turning that money directly into campaign contributions to Republicans, but investigations are still pending. October 27, 2005.

  • I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Cheney's chief of staff. Indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to investigators in the CIA leak case involving Valerie Plame Wilson. October 28, 2005.

Notice anything? Number one, they're all Republicans. Why do you think that is? If you are the type to foolishly insist that this is some sort of partisan thing, and all of the indictments are frame-ups or something, then why aren't Republicans retaliating by getting Democrats indicted the same way? Is it because the Dems are all evil and bad, and the saintly Republicans are "above all that" and prefer to practice squeaky-clean politics? Pfft. Yeah, that doesn't even pass the laugh test. Pull the other one.

Number two, they're all very big fish in their areas of Republican politics. Frist and DeLay are the Senate and House majority leaders, people. It doesn't get much bigger than that. The lobbyists are huge in their field, and wield vast amounts of influence with the money they command. Safavian was director of procurement at the White House. Libby is no mere functionary in the Vice-President's office, but rather his chief of staff. And Noe is so thoroughly wrapped up in Ohio state politics that five out of the seven Ohio Supreme Court justices had to recuse themselves from a case that came before them as part of Noe's Coingate because they had received campaign funds from him. Look it up; he's connected to nearly every single major Republican office-holder in the state.

Worst of all, that whole list described above does not represent all the criminal activity that's gone on. It's just the stuff where they have enough evidence to go after these guys.

Beyond the criminal activity, don't even get me started on incompetence. Where do you think FEMA is going to be when there's an emergency near you? Will the National Guard have enough troops and equipment on this side of the globe to respond?

These guys are out of control.