WASHINGTON - January 5 - The choice of Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) this week to head the ethics charge in the Senate demonstrates Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-TN) deaf ear to the importance of high ethical standards in the Senate.
According to The Washington Post, shortly before Thanksgiving, Senator Frist, asked Sen. Santorum to draft a package of lobbying restrictions.
“Senator Santorum’s history of unethical behavior suggests that he is more likely to undercut any real ethics reform than he is to toughen ethics rules,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “We strongly question Senator Frist’s decision to choose a Senator that CREW listed as one of the 13 most corrupt Members of Congress.”
Among Sen. Santorum’s unethical conduct:
•Sen. Santorum runs the K Street project, created by conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), in which he ensures that all top lobbying and trade association jobs are filled by Republicans;
•Two days before Sen. Santorum introduced a bill that would benefit private national weather companies at the expense of the National Weather Service, the Senator's political action committee, America's Foundation, received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive officer of AccuWeather, Inc., a leading weather data provider located in State College, PA.;
•Working to undermine public confidence in the National Weather Service, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Sen. Santorum stated in an interview with a local Philadelphia radio station that the National Weather Service failed to predict the storm's fury and that its warnings were "not sufficient." In fact, the early warnings about Hurricane Katrina issued by the National Weather Service were praised for their accuracy by news organizations such as Associated Press, NBC News and The New York Times.
•Since the 2001-2002 school year, at least three of Sen. Santorum's children have attended a Pennsylvania cyber charter school in Penn Hills, PA, costing local taxpayers about $67,000, despite the fact that the Senator and his family spend most of the year in Virginia.