The American Hall of Shame: A Not-So-Little List

For commentary, you can read You’re ALL out of order.

These are the details, the who’s who plus the what and when of America’s federal convicted political criminals. Note I say convicted because I’m sure there are lots more that weren’t caught … or haven’t been caught yet. This not only isn’t everyone at the Federal level, it doesn’t deal at all with the state and locally elected criminals, from governors, to mayors, judges and the thousands of local pols. Truly too many to name. That’s not a post. That’s a multi-volume book.


So, to reiterate, this list contains only federal officials, appointed and elected, indicted and convicted while in office. More than a few of them were re-elected after conviction and some while still serving time. You get the government you deserve.


Many people who were convicted during the term of one president did the crime and the time (and were elected or appointed) during an earlier presidency. Typically, regardless of political affiliation, new presidents pardon the miscreants convicted from earlier administrations. It’s a courtesy, one President to another. Nice.

On the other hand, it’s heartwarming to know if you get nailed, the next guy in office will pardon you too.

Obama (D) Presidency

Judicial Branch
  • Samuel B. Kent (R) The Federal District Judge of Galveston, Texas. Sentenced May 11, 2009 to 33 months for lying about sexually harassing 2 female employees. Appointed by George H. W. Bush (1990).
  • Thomas Porteous (D), Federal Judge of the US District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana), impeached, convicted and removed from office December 8, 2010. Charges of bribery and lying to Congress. Appointed by Bill Clinton (1994).
Legislative Branch

Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) pled guilty February 20, 2013 to fraud, conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture after using approximately $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses. Not yet sentenced.

2001–2009 George W. Bush (R) Presidency

Executive Branch
  • Lewis Libby (R) Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney (R). ‘Scooter’ convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame Affair, March 6, 2007. Sentenced to 30 months and fined $250,000. Sentence commuted by George W. Bush (R), July 1, 2007.
  • Lester Crawford (R) Commissioner of the FDA, resigned. Pled guilty to conflict of interest. Sentenced to 3 years suspended and fined $90,000 (2006).
  • Claude Allen (R) Advisor to President Bush on Domestic Policy. Arrested for multiple felony thefts in retail stores. (2006) Convicted and resigned.
  • Darleen Druyun (D) Principal Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. Pled guilty to corruption charges, sentenced to 9 months and fined $5,000, with 3 years supervised release and 150 hours community service.
Legislative Branch

Jack Abramoff CNMI congressional influence peddling scandal involving immigration and minimum wage laws. Congressmen convicted in the Abramoff scandal included:

  • Tom DeLay (R-TX) House Majority Leader. Reprimanded twice by the House Ethics Committee. DeLay resigned June 9, 2006. Illegally channeled funds from Americans for a Republican Majority to Republican state legislator campaigns. Convicted  in 2010 by a Texas court of money laundering and conspiracy. Sentenced to 3 years.
  • Michael Scanlon (R) former staff to Tom DeLay: working for Abramoff, pled guilty to bribery.
  • Tony Rudy (R) former staff to Tom DeLay, pled guilty to conspiracy
  • James W. Ellis (R) executive director of Tom DeLay’s political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC), indicted for money laundering.
  • John Colyandro (R) executive director of Tom DeLay’s political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), indicted for money laundering.
  • Bob Ney (R-OH) pled guilty to conspiracy and lying in exchange for legislative favors. 30 months.
  • Duke Cunningham (R-CA) pled guilty on November 28, 2005 to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion (Cunningham scandal). Sentenced to 8+ years in prison.
  • William J. Jefferson (D-LA). August 2005, the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s home freezer. Was re-elected anyway, but lost in 2008. Convicted of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years, November 13, 2009.
  • Jefferson’s Chief of Staff Brett Pfeffer, sentenced to 84 months for bribery (2006).
  • Bill Janklow (R-SD) convicted of second-degree manslaughter for running a stop sign and killing a motorcyclist. Resigned from the House. 100 days in county jail plus 3 years probation (2003).
  • Jim Traficant (D-OH). Convicted on 10 felony counts of financial corruption. Sentenced to 8 years in prison. Expelled from the US House of Representatives. (2002)
  • Larry Craig Senator (R-ID). Married Senator and vocal critic of Clinton’s affair, pled guilty to disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, after having been arrested on a charge of homosexual lewd conduct (2007).
  • Frank Ballance (D-NC) admitted to federal charges of money laundering and mail fraud in October 2005. Sentenced to 4 years.

1993–2001 Clinton (D) Presidency

Legislative Branch
  • Mel Reynolds (D-IL). Convicted of 12 counts of bank fraud (1999).
  • Walter R. Tucker III (D-CA). Sentenced to 27 months 1996, extortion and tax evasion (1995).
  • Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). Convicted on 11 counts of illegally using campaign funds for personal use (1997).
  • Austin Murphy (D-PA) convicted of 1 count of voter fraud for filling out absentee ballots for members of a nursing home (1999).

House Banking Scandal — 450 members of the House of Representatives overdrew their checking accounts and were never penalized. Six were convicted of related charges, and 22 others were sanctioned by the House Ethics Committee (1992):

  • Buz Lukens (R-Ohio) was convicted of bribery and conspiracy.
  • Carl C. Perkins (D-Kentucky) pled guilty to a check kiting multiple financial institutions including the House Bank.
  • Carroll Hubbard (D-Kentucky) convicted of illegally funneling money to his wife’s 1992 congressional campaign.

Congressional Post Office scandal (1991–1995) was a conspiracy to embezzle House Post Office money through stamps and postal vouchers to congressmen:

  • Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) — sentenced to 18 months, 1995.
  • Joe Kolter (D-Pennsylvania) convicted of 1 count of conspiracy. Sentenced to 6 months.
  • Jay Kim (R-CA) accepted $250,000 in illegal 1992 campaign contributions. Sentenced to 2 months house arrest (1992).

1989–1993 George H. W. Bush (R) Presidency

Judicial Branch
  • Robert Frederick Collins (D) Judge of the US District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana). Convicted of bribery. Sentenced to 6 years 10 months.
  • Walter Nixon (D) US Judge (Mississippi) (appointed by Lyndon Johnson,1968). Impeached by House and convicted by the Senate for perjury (1989).
Executive Branch

Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, (R) Treasurer of the United States. Pled guilty to obstruction of justice and tax evasion (1992).

Legislative Branch
  • Nicholas Mavroules (D-Massachusetts). Convicted of extortion, accepting illegal gifts and failing to report income. Pled guilty to 15 counts in April 1993. Sentenced to 15 months. (1993)
  • Albert Bustamante (D-Texas) — Convicted of accepting bribes (1993).
  • David Durenberger Senator (R-Minnesota) — Denounced by Senate for unethical financial transactions and disbarred (1990). Pled guilty to misuse of public funds. One year probation (1995).

1981–1989 Reagan (R) Presidency

Executive Branch

Housing and Urban Development Scandal concerned bribery by selected contractors to get low-income housing project government contracts:

  • James G. Watt (R) United States Secretary of the Interior, 1981–1983, charged with 25 counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. Sentenced to five years probation, fined $5,000 and 500 hours of community service.
  • Deborah Gore Dean, (R) Executive Assistant to (Samuel Pierce, Secretary of HUD 1981–1987, and not charged). Dean was convicted of 12 counts of perjury, conspiracy, bribery. Sentenced to 21 months in prison (1987).
  • Phillip D. Winn (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, 1981–1982, pleaded guilty to bribery in 1994.
  • Thomas Demery, (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, pleaded guilty to bribery and obstruction.
  • Joseph A. Strauss, (R) Special Assistant to the Secretary of HUD, convicted for accepting payments to favor Puerto Rican land developers in receiving HUD funding.

Wedtech scandal: Wedtech Corporation convicted of bribery for Defense Department contracts:

  • Mario Biaggi (D-New York) sentenced to 2½ years. (1987)
  • Robert Garcia (D-New York) sentenced to 2½ years.

Iran-Contra Affair (1985–1986) involved secret arms sales to Iran in an attempt to secure the release of hostages and let US intelligence agencies fund Nicaraguan Contras (violation of Boland Amendment):

  • Caspar Weinberger (R) United States Secretary of Defense, indicted on 2 counts of perjury and 1 count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992. Weinberger received a pardon before his trial from George H. W. Bush on December 24, 1992.
  • Robert C. McFarlane (R) National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence. Given 2 years probation. Pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.
  • John Poindexter (R) National Security Advisor, was convicted on April 7, 1990 for his role in the Iran-Contra Affair. Convictions were reversed in 1991 on appeal .
  • Oliver North (R) Member of the National Security Council, was fired by President Reagan on the same day Poindexter resigned. North was found guilty of perjury and conspiracy, but charges were overturned on appeal.
  • Elliott Abrams (R) Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, convicted of withholding evidence. 2 years probation, pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.
  • Michael Deaver (R) White House Deputy Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan 1981–85, pled guilty to perjury related to lobbying activities and was sentenced to 3 years probation and fined $100,000.

Sewergate: A scandal in which funds from the EPA were selectively used for projects which would aid politicians friendly to the Reagan administration:

  • Rita Lavelle (R), assistant EPA Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency misused ‘superfund’ monies and was convicted of perjury. Served 6 months and fined $10,000 with 5 years probation (1984) (Note: And let’s not worry about cleaning up those hazardous waste sites.)
Legislative Branch
  • David Durenberger Senator (R-Minnesota), denounced by the Senate for unethical financial transactions (1990) and disbarred (1995). Pled guilty to 5 counts of misuse of public funds. 1 year probation.
  • Donald E. “Buz” Lukens (R-Ohio). Convicted of two counts of bribery and conspiracy (1996).

ABSCAM FBI sting involving fake ‘Arabs’ trying to bribe 31 congressmen. (1980). The following Congressmen were convicted:

  • Harrison A. Williams Senator (D-New Jersey) was convicted on 9 counts of bribery and conspiracy. Sentenced to 3 years.
  • John Jenrette Representative (D-South Carolina) sentenced to two years in prison for bribery and conspiracy.
  • Richard Kelly (R-Florida) accepted $25K. Claimed he was conducting his own investigation into corruption. Served 13 months.
  • Raymond Lederer (D-Pennsylvania) “I can give you me” he said after accepting $50K. Sentenced to 3 years.
  • Michael Myers (D-Pennsylvania) Accepted $50,000 saying: “…money talks and bullshit walks.” Sentenced to 3 years and was expelled from the House.
  • Frank Thompson (D-New Jersey) sentenced to 3 years.
  • John M. Murphy (D-New York) Served 20 months of a 3-year sentence.
  • Mario Biaggi (D-New York), Convicted of obstruction of justice and accepting illegal gratuities he was sentenced to 2½ years in prison, fined $500,000 for his role in Wedtech. Resigned just before expulsion from the House. The next year he was convicted of another 15 counts of obstruction and bribery (1988).
  • Pat Swindall (R-Georgia) convicted of 6 counts of perjury. (1989)
  • George V. Hansen (R-Idaho) censured for failing to file out disclosure forms. Spent 15 months in prison.
  • Frederick W. Richmond (D-New York),Convicted of tax evasion and possession of marijuana. Served 9 months (1982)
  • Dan Flood (D-Pennsylvania) censured for bribery. Deadlocked jury. Pled guilty, got 1 year probation.
  • Joshua Eilberg (D-Pennsylvania) pled guilty to conflict-of-interest. Convinced president Carter to fire the US Attorney investigating his case.
Judicial branch scandals
  • Alcee Hastings (D-Florida), Federal District court judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate of soliciting a bribe (1989). Subsequently elected to the US House of Representatives (1992)
  • Harry Claiborne (D-Nebraska), Federal District court Judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate on two counts of tax evasion. He served 1 year.

1977–1981 Carter (D) Presidency

Legislative Branch
  • Fred Richmond (D-New York) – Convicted of tax fraud and possession of marijuana. Served 9 months in prison. Charges of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy were dropped after he agreed to counseling (1978).
  • Charles Diggs (D-Michigan). Convicted on 29 charges of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms in kickback scheme. Sentenced to 3 years (1978).
  • Michael Myers (D-Pennsylvania) Received suspended six-month jail term after pleading no contest to disorderly conduct charged stemming from an incident at a Virginia bar in which he allegedly attacked a hotel security guard and a cashier.
  • Frank M. Clark (D-Pennsylvania) pled guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion, June 12, 1979. Sentenced to 2 years.

Koreagate scandal involving alleged bribery of more than 30 members of Congress by the South Korean government represented by Tongsun Park:

  • Richard T. Hanna (D-California). Convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Richard Tonry (D-Louisiana) pled guilty to receiving illegal campaign contributions.

1974–1977 Ford (R) Presidency

Legislative Branch
  • James F. Hastings (R-New York), convicted of kickbacks and mail fraud, he also took money from his employees for personal use. Served 14 months at Allenwood penitentiary (1976).
  • John V. Dowdy (D-Texas), Allegedly tried to stop a federal investigation of a construction firm. He served 6 months in prison for perjury (1973).
  • Bertram Podell (D-New York), pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest. He was fined $5,000 and served four months in prison (1974).
  • Frank Brasco (D-New York) sentenced to 3 months in jail and fined $10,000 for conspiracy to accept bribes from a reputed Mafia figure for truck leasing contracts from the post office and loans to buy trucks.
  • Richard T. Hanna (D-CA), convicted in an influence-buying scandal (1974).

1969–1974 Nixon (R) Presidency

Watergate: A Really, Really Big Scandal

Watergate (1972–1973) was about Republican “operatives” bugging Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel entailing a burglary. Which was discovered and exposed in the biggest and baddest government scandal of modern times and the only one that led to the resignation of a sitting president. The only resignation of any sitting president.

If you are too young to have watched the spectacle on television, you can catch up by watching “All The President’s Men.” It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s as close as you’re going to get. You might watch “Frost-Nixon” too.

The attempted cover up of the affair by President Richard Nixon (R) and his staff resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 pleading guilty, including 7 for actual burglary. Eventually, Nixon resigned his presidency. It wasn’t what he did that got him. It was his stupid attempt to cover it up. If he had admitted it and apologized, it probably would have blown over.

Eventually all the malefactors found Jesus, wrote books, and made a fortune on the lecture circuit. Presumably, justice was served. There’s a moral in there. I have no idea what it is.

The following were indicted and convicted:

  • John N. Mitchell (R) former Attorney General, convicted of perjury.
  • Frederick C. LaRue (R) Advisor to John Mitchell, convicted of obstruction of justice.
  • Richard Kleindienst (R) Attorney General, found guilty of “refusing to answer questions” given one month in jail.
  • H. R. Haldeman (R) Chief of Staff for Nixon, convicted of perjury.
  • John Ehrlichman (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of perjury.
  • Egil Krogh (R) Aide to John Ehrlichman, sentenced to 6 months.
  • John W. Dean III (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice.
  • Dwight L. Chapin (R) Deputy Assistant to Nixon, convicted of perjury.
  • Charles W. Colson (R) Special Consul to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice.
Legislative Branch
  • Cornelius Gallagher (D-New Jersey) pled guilty to tax evasion. Served 2 years.
  • J. Irving Whalley (R-Pennsylvania) In 1973, received suspended 3-year sentence and fined $11,000 for using mail to deposit staff salary kickbacks and threatening an employee to stop her from informing the FBI.
  • Martin B. McKneally (R-New York) 1 year probation and fined $5,000 in 1971 for failing to file income tax return. He had not paid taxes for many years prior. (Note: They’d have tossed me in jail and thrown away the key.)
  • New York US Representative James Fred Hastings (R-NY) was a delegate to the 1968 Republican National Convention and the 1972 Republican National Convention. Elected to Congress in 1968. Served from January 3, 1969 until he resigned January 20, 1976 after being convicted of taking kickbacks and mail fraud. Served 14 months at Allenwood penitentiary (1976).

1963–1969 Lyndon B. Johnson (D) Presidency

Legislative Branch

Ted Kennedy — Senator (D-Massachusetts) drove his car into the channel between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha’s Vineyard, killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended sentence of two months (1969). He also went on to be one of the nation’s finest legislators. Again, there’s a moral in there. Having taken that drive, it’s hard to believe it happened the way he said it did. I liked Teddy. I just didn’t believe him.

1961–1963 Kennedy (D) Presidency

Frank Boykin (D-Alabama) was placed on probation and fined $40,000 following conviction for conflict of interest and conspiracy to defraud the government. Pardoned by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

1953–1961 Eisenhower (R) Presidency

  • Thomas J. Lane (D-Massachusetts) convicted for income tax evasion. Served 4 months, but was re-elected three more times before his 1962 defeat due to re-districting (1956).
  • Ernest K. Bramblett (R-California) Received a suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine in 1955 for payroll padding and getting kickbacks.

1945–1953 Truman (D) Presidency

  • Walter E. Brehm (R-Ohio) convicted of accepting illegal contributions from employees. Received 15 month suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine.
  • J. Parnell Thomas (R-New Jersey), member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), was convicted of salary fraud and given 18 months and a fine. Resigned from Congress in 1950. He was imprisoned in Danbury Prison with two of the Hollywood Ten he had helped put there. (Note: Karma’s a bitch.) After serving, 18 months, was pardoned by Truman (D) in 1952.
  • Andrew J. May (D-Kentucky) was convicted of accepting bribes in 1947 from a war munitions manufacturer. Sentenced to 9 months, then pardoned by Truman (D) in 1952.

1933–1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) Presidency

John H. Hoeppel (D-California) convicted in 1936 of selling an appointment to the West Point Military Academy. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 4–12 months.

1921–1923 Harding (R) Presidency

Teapot Dome Scandals: The Harding administration was rocked by scandals caused by Harding’s old Ohio friends who he had appointed to positions in his administration, known as the Ohio Gang. My mother to her dying day was convinced Harding was poisoned by his own “people.”

They did say it was food poisoning. Perhaps what they left out was what kind of poison was in the food?The list of the convicted included:

  • Albert Fall (R) Secretary of the Interior, bribed by Harry F. Sinclair for control of the Teapot Dome federal oil reserves in Wyoming, the first (but by no means the last) U.S. cabinet member to be convicted. Served two years (1922).
  • Charles R. Forbes (R) appointed by Harding as the first director of the new Bureau of Veterans Affairs. After constructing and modernizing VA hospitals, convicted of bribery and corruption. Sentenced to two years.
  • Thomas W. Miller (R), Head of the Office of Alien Property: convicted of fraud by selling German patents seized after World War I and bribery. Served 18 months.

1901-1909 Theodore Roosevelt (R) Presidency

  • Henry B. Cassel (R-Pennsylvania) was convicted of fraud related to the construction of the Pennsylvania State Capitol (1909).
  • John Mitchell Senator (R-Oregon) was involved with the Oregon land fraud scandal, for which he was indicted and convicted while a sitting US Senator (1905).
  • Joseph R. Burton Senator (R-Kansas), convicted of accepting a $2,500 bribe (1904).

1869–1877 Grant (R) Presidency

Whiskey Ring: Massive corruption of Ulysses S. Grant’s (R) administration involving whiskey taxes, bribery and kickbacks ending with 110 convictions (1875).


  • Matthew Lyon (Democratic Republican-Kentucky). First Congressman to be recommended for censure after spitting on Roger Griswold (Federalist-Connecticut). The censure failed to pass. Also found guilty of violating John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts and sentenced to four months in jail, during which period he was re-elected (1798). Setting a precedent, I guess.
  • John Pickering, Federal Judge (appointed by George Washington) was impeached and convicted in absentia by the US Senate for drunkenness and use of profanity on the bench though neither act was a high crime or misdemeanor (1804).

Categories: American history, Crime and Cops, Government, History, Humor, Law, News, Patriotism, Politics, Reality, Statistics

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17 replies

  1. Please excuse me for posting and causing such a long tirade from you, Marilyn. I said MEDIA…..did not mean individuals. It is extremely obvious the Media gives time to whatever supports them the most……….the people never hear even half the stories they collect. Yes, we are partially responsible, but we cannot investigate personally everyone running for office. Sad to say, we trust the Media to inform us. Perhaps there is another way……..I and none I know have found it yet. Maybe you can give us one. Once again, sorry for my post. It was meant to agree with you not do what it did. Learned my lesson. KEITH


    • I guess I’ve gotten a bit over sensitive on the subject. People blame the media as if everyone in it is responsible for making sure we are well-informed. Actually if people occasionally read a newspaper and watched something other than headline news, they might discover there IS information available. I know you/me/everyone doesn’t have time to check out every candidate. But we don’t vote for every candidate. I’m as guilty as anyone of not checking out all our local people, though around here it doesn’t matter because our local candidates run unopposed (like having 1 TV channel). But on a state and national level? There really isn’t any excuse for any of us. Mine is that I was doing other stuff I like better, so I didn’t bother. So when I say “we get the government we deserve” I mean me too. Because we all have excuses, but that’s all they are. I know I could make the time if I tried, but I don’t, unless it’s a big important race. The result is what it is.


  2. We see this in politics everywhere – on every level.
    And sadly, some people who seemed to be honest at the start become corrupted.
    But the Law of Karma says … nobody walks.


  3. Hi Marilyn, Very different from what I know of you so far, but thanks for putting it all together. May seem wrong, but I blame our news media for things like this. A great deal of these “pardons”, etc. slip under the wire……the public never knows. But the news media does. THEY choose what to tell us. If someone who has committed and been found guilty of crimes comes up for office, seems as if they should be on the front page on every newspaper in the area involved. And every news show should do stories on it.
    I well remember the day my boyfriend, Harold Gibbons, was put on The Dean’s List because of his public criticism of Nixon. We had landed at the airport and were making our way through the terminal when I saw a huge amount of people by the old fashioned security gate. Oh OH……Now what? Yep, the whole St. Louis press was there to interview him on the announcement of his being placed on the List.
    Later, his name was withdrawn after they went through his taxes and harassed him in many other ways. All because he refused to knuckle under to what he said in the Teamster convention to choose who they would support for president,. The vote still stood at 13 to 1, Gibbons being the holdout. When finally put into the record, Gibbons was asked if he would now make it unanimous even though the record stated he voted against Nixon. He said, “The man is a thief, and I will not vote for him”. In the Nixon tapes, you hear them talking about Gibbons. They all agreed to hang him out to dry because “he was not one of us”…..won’t mention here the words that were used. Too bad there aren’t more Gibbons’ around. Two bad there aren’t more Bernsteins and Woodwards!
    I bet if Garry was still in the business, he would not be part of the “cover ups”.
    As for Ted……….he was my HOPE for the Kennedys until that horrible incident. The cover up there was so “hokey”, I couldn’t believe that was all they could come up with. He dropped off my list as soon as I saw the judicial branch was going to “choke on, yet swallow” his story.
    Super article duo, Marilyn……..maybe it will “stir” some people into action. What in the world happened to the news reporters who used to LOVE to find and divulge to the public scandals like these? The media is no longer FOR the people…….it is BY the GOVERNMENT!


    • What does the news media have to do with it? They don’t *cause *the problem *or *fix it. It’s a problem that has existed since government began. Media reports, they don’t create or solve. Just because you see it on TV doesn’t make TV the responsible party. It’s business, not public service.

      Once again, for the record. Reporters don’t get to choose what to report. Not like the movies. Their bosses tell them what stories to report and to a large extent, how to report them. They can (and do) make suggestions, even beg and plead to do stories they believe are worthwhile, but in the end, it’s not up to them. They are employees of a corporation. There was a time — 60 years ago? more? — when reporters had a *bit* more freedom, but even Ed Murrow had to fight tooth and claw to get his stuff on the air.

      Americans should take a look in the mirror. Because *that* is who to blame. We do it to ourselves when we vote for assholes and don’t even take the time to find out who they are and if they stand for anything, or whether or not they are actual criminals. And when we alreadly KNOW they are criminals and we vote them into office anyway? Explain how that’s the fault of the media? An educated electorate can choose intelligently. Since collectively we prefer to stay ignorant, we get what we deserve.

      The media is not responsible for the condition of the body politic. Were it not for media, it would be much worse.

      Woodward and Berstein could not have done any of what they did had their boss not supported them. And they were not quite the people portrayed in the movies. They were no more free agents than any other reporters. If their boss had told them not to go ahead? They would NOT have done it because without the paper, the articles don’t get published and no one sees them.

      Garry tried his best, but when he was told he could not do a story, he didn’t do it. What was he going to do with a story that Channel 7 hadn’t approved? Show it on his own network? What would W&B have done with their copy if their paper wouldn’t run it? Print handbills and give them out on street corners? Media outlets are corporations.

      As for getting stirred into action, what action? How about everybody read a book about how the government works? Learn some history? Stop voting for morons? Kennedy was, at least, a great legislator. Not merely good. GREAT. And maybe a murderer too, even if accidentally. It’s enough to give one pause for thought.

      There is no clean government. Not here, overseas, nor historically. Didn’t exist in the past, doesn’t exist in the present, won’t exist in the future. Within the choices available, I highly urge everyone to make the best choices they can. Intelligent choices. Informed choices. You don’t need to man the barricades, but you also don’t have to vote for party hacks and crime bosses. We don’t need term limits. We have them already. They are called elections.

      We don’t need a government overhaul. We need an intelligent, informed electorate to make sensible voting choices, not behave like sheep, nor believe everything they see and hear on Fox News. It’s our own fault and our responsibility. If we don’t like what we have, nominate and elect better candidates. Then stop peeking in their bedrooms and let them get some work done. Support good legislation. Don’t vote for morons and criminals. Know what’s going on.


      • I appreciate Marilyn and Keith speaking out for me. I did my best over the decades. I actually defied my bosses at times. They threatened. They usually backed down. I picked my wars. Sometimes I went in via the back door to tell the story. I had my sources. We actually nailed a bunch of bad guys. We even cleaned up some systems. You have to really WANT to use the power you have in the media, understand the potential fallout and still take a whack because few others have that power. We make fun of corrupt Pols. I known more than a few. Shared pops with some. But. In the end, there’s nothing funny about those who subvert the system for their own profit and leave millions of others twisting in the wind. The corruption continues and so should the fight against those who believe they are above the law. It’s a never ending story. It’s history — then, now and tomorrow.


        • If we can’t make them cleaner (and I doubt we can), perhaps we can convince them to do a better job. I can live with that. It’s not optimum, but it’s better than nothing.


  4. Excellent post. Allow me to be the silver lining guy and put a positive spin on all of this. At least you’ve managed to uncover a few occasions where elected officials reached across the aisles and worked in bipartisan (if unlawful….details, details) concert. There’s hope yet. (?)


    • I lot of people are taking me the wrong way — obviously you are not one of them. I’m not lobbying for clean government. It ain’t gonna happen. I’m pushing for EFFECTIVE government. LBJ was great. He got through more legislation in a few years than other presidents did in two terms. And his legislation wasn’t (unlike FDR’s stuff) overturned in the courts. He knew whose arms to twist and where the bodies were buried. I think he buried some of them himself.

      Did I like him? Not really. Did I appreciate him? Probably not as much as I should have (I was very young back then), but more and more with passing years. Ted Kennedy? Did he kill the girl? Probably. He didn’t stick a knife in her, but he was no hero, either. But he turned into a hell of a legislator and along with great ones like Tip O’Neil, actually got stuff done. Knew how to write a law and how to get it passed. Who do we have now? Yikes.

      People think I believe in CLEANING UP THE GOVERNMENT. Why bother? Let’s just be smarter voters and not elect morons to do the work of America. That would be a great start. And we have all the tools we need, no revolution required. No new laws required. If eveyone would just use their heads for more than hat racks … Ah but I preach again to the choir.


  5. No, I dont think we can draw the line as long as the paradigm espouses self as the center rather than the collective.
    Plus that darn greed always gets in the way of virtue doesnt it?


    • And power. I think more are corrupted by the glamor of power than by money


      • ahhh….. no money….. no power!!!
        your site is wonder full!!!


        • Thank you 🙂 This post (both parts because it started as one) got written because my husband was flummoxed how anyone could take Anthony Weiner seriously. And actually VOTE for him. That got me curious about how many criminals are or were elected to office. And that led me to realizing that there is so MUCH corruption and so MANY criminals in office … and we keep electing them, even after they are known criminals … well. That’s how my mind works. One things leads to another. And then it took me the rest of the night, like four hours to write this two parter because collecting the data was only part of the process. I had to turn the data into text. All because my husband seems to feel that electing a known sex pervert as Mayor of NYC is nuts. He’s right. It *is *nuts. But so very American.


  6. Hard to believe it was 18 years since Rostenkowski!
    Teddy exemplifies the dis-ease manifested as corruption of this culture!!
    Nice man, but why we see a liar and someone who covered up a death, not a break in of a building, as a hero says more about us than him.


    • Yet he was a great legislator. Just also a criminal. Look how many heads of state in other countries are mass murderers! Politicians and politics are corrupt. Everywhere. In every time period. Where do you draw the line? CAN you draw a line?

      Talk about hard to believe: Watergate was 1974 — 39 years ago!



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