CREW Unveils Its List of Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2009

For Immediate Release

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Matt Jacob 202.408.5565

CREW Unveils Its List of Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2009

WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
unveiled its choices for the Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2009. As was
true of last year's Top Ten list, this year's list features ethical
lapses in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal
government.

CREW's third annual Top Ten Ethics Scandals list does not attempt to
rank these scandals in a particular order - they are all outrageous.Included on this year's list:

  • The federal pay czar's less-than-successful effort to stop
    those financial firms that received TARP funds from paying out
    excessive bonuses to top executives.
  • The SEC failed to stop Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme for 16 years, despite clear warnings.
  • Prosecutors will likely lose an important tool in
    targeting public corruption as the Supreme Court appears on the brink
    of gutting the honest services fraud statute, which has been used to
    convict Jack Abramoff, former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) and many
    others.
  • Violations of federal campaign finance law are going
    unpunished as a result of a gridlocked and toothless Federal Election
    Commission.
  • The myriad criminal and ethics violations committed by
    Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) to cover up his affair with a campaign staffer
    married to a member of his office staff.
  • Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) left his state without leadership
    and lied to staff to disappear to Argentina to conduct an extramarital
    affair. Even worse, this budget hawk seems to have misused state funds
    to facilitate the affair.
  • Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the chair of the tax writing
    committee, found it too difficult to make sure his own tax forms and
    financial disclosure forms were accurate. He also violated a host of
    other ethics rules, making clear he believes rules are for other people.
  • Senators continue to use secret holds to stall legislation
    and nominations, despite voting to ban the practice in 2007 in the
    ironically named Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.
  • Earmarks continue to be exchanged for campaign
    contributions, as the investigation into the PMA Group's contributions
    to a number of House members, including Defense Appropriations
    Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-PA), demonstrates.
  • Despite vows to "drain the swamp" and the
    creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics, not a single
    representative was publicly reprimanded or sanctioned by the House
    ethics committee this year, though offenders remain plentiful.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said, "2009 was no
exception; there was no shortage of ethics scandals to choose from. It
would be nice if 2010 proved to be the year politicians put Americans'
interests above their own, but I won't hold my breath."

Click here to read the full text of CREW's Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2009.

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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