The blame goes to Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat ensnared in a bribery probe. The scandals of Abramoff and Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham could help Democrats portray a Republican "culture of corruption," but Jefferson complicates things. The FBI raided his home last year and reportedly found a large quantity of cold, hard cash in his freezer. The investigation, involving business deals in Africa, has already produced a guilty plea by one of Jefferson's former staffers.
Jefferson, in his famously stoic manner, is still staying cool and soliciting funds for a re-election bid. Republicans and political insiders may be stretching this a bit by using Jefferson as an issue to paint the left side of Congress as equally corrupt; it's a saucy, tawdry piece of political gossip that doesn't bode well forJefferson's political or personal future; but, it's just not as big or deserving of honorable mention. Democrats aren't running anything in Washington right now, and it's the party with the juice that has the most impact. We agree ethical lapses and abuse of power are pervasive on both sides, but it appears thickly spread within GOP leadership ranks in a way that's thrown us into a messy geopolitical situation, botched federal emergency response efforts and an uncontrollable budget deficit.