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Garrett Russo // 202.408.5565
CREW Welcomes James Traficant to the List of America's Most Crooked Candidates
WASHINGTON - August 31 - Being a convicted felon ought to disqualify someone from being elected to Congress; unfortunately it doesn't. When a convicted crook like James Traficant (I-Ohio) runs for Congress, it does, however, unquestionably qualify him to join the Wall of Shame that is America's Most Crooked Candidates. Since Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) first released the list in late July, two candidates listed have been defeated. Traficant is an exceptional entry to the list - he's one of only two people ever to be expelled by the House of Representatives since the Civil War.
The Youngtown, Ohio-area former congressman was convicted in 2002 of 10 bribery, tax evasion and racketeering charges. He was recently released from prison after serving a seven year sentence.
"Given his felony convictions, for Mr. Traficant to claim he is the best person to represent the 17th district of Ohio suggests he has -- to borrow his favorite tag-line -- been beamed up by Scotty," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.
CREW's Crooked Candidates focuses on office-seekers who have engaged in unethical and sometimes criminal conduct. Their misdeeds range from quid pro quo schemes to abusing state office for the benefit of friends and donors, to an obscenity charge. A few candidates even made the list because of their involvement in national political scandals: two were involved in the Abramoff investigation and one played a role in the Bush administration's politicization of the U.S. Attorneys' offices. Two crooked candidates (J.D. Hayworth and Jeff Greene) have already been defeated.
"The American People deserve better," concluded Ms. Sloan. "We shouldn't have to choose between the lesser of two evils when we go to vote, and we shouldn't have to worry that the Most Corrupt Candidates will someday grow up to become the Most Corrupt Members of Congress."
With more than 2,300 people running for office this year, CREW's list is likely only the tip of the iceberg. CREW invites anyone who is aware of a particularly disgraceful candidate to forward information about that candidate's misdeeds to: Tipline@citizensforethics.org.