The Democrats swept into the majority in Congress vowing to fight the culture of corruption. Bad news for the muckraking biz, right? Thankfully, less-than-squeaky pasts don't appear to be a factor in the Dems' reasoning as they divvy up leadership posts and committee chairs. Here are our favorite Democrats poised to take key positions:
Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV): He's set to take the chair of the very appropriations panel in whose purse strings he has already entangled himself. (He has helped steer nearly $500 million in taxpayer money to his rural district, half of which has gone to five organizations Mollohan created with friends.) As a result, he's under FBI investigation. Enough said.
Rep. John Murtha (PA): Likely to chair the Defense Appropriations subcommittee. Murtha's been tagged as a shameless earmarker, spending tens of millions on projects nobody wants to benefit his friends and his district. He's already been caught on tape by the FBI explaining how he works scams, so at least if the Feds pick up his trail again, they'll know what to look for. With massive classified budgets and a long history of wasteful spending, this post is ripe for abuse. The FBI probe into its former chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), attests to that. Murtha's also making a play for Majority Leader.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL): Tapped to chair the House Permanent Standing Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). Without a serious intel/national security background, Hastings is said to have gotten up to speed on the material since joining the committee. Still, there's a congressional impeachment in his background, and charges of a $150,000 bribe from his days as a judge. In the wake of major corruption scandals in the intel world, is it so hard to find a little less complicated candidate to oversee them?
Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD): Hoyer, an appropriator, hopes to be House Majority Leader. Unfortunately, he has an addiction to special interest money, and eagerly courts K Street donors. Does that matter? He broke ranks with his party last year to vote in favor of a draconian bankruptcy bill that would bar many Americans from getting out from under debt, regardless of the circumstances which landed them there. Hoyer has taken around $120,000 from lending institutions this cycle. It's okay to slow-dance with 'em, Steny; but don't let them take you home.