By: Christine Morabito – January, 2011
Four years ago House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to “drain the swamp” of political corruption in our Nation’s Capital. A difficult task–especially for someone wallowing in her own scandalous ooze, accused of using military aircraft for her private and leisure travel. Not only did she break her promise, but the swamp has since overflowed its banks, become even more stagnant and teeming with corrupt inhabitants. Or maybe we have just become more aware due to the informative efforts of the Tea Party and other watchdog groups.
Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation is one such organization that has been a persistent and effective advocate against corruption and the abuse of political power, yet rarely gets the credit it deserves. With the motto: “Because no one is above the law”, the group demands the ethical and moral standards we expect from those we have chosen—or have been appointed—to govern us.
When the Department of Justice (DOJ) suddenly and mysteriously dropped the suit against New Black Panther Party members, who menacingly stood outside a Philadelphia polling place, dressed in paramilitary gear, brandishing a nightstick, intimidating voters who dared not vote for Obama, those of us following the case felt betrayed and defeated. Where can we turn when the government bodies we entrust to follow the rule of law opt instead for the rule of man?
When the House Ethics Committee ignores the serious ethics violations of Rep. Charlie Rangel, former chair of the committee that writes tax policy, who among other things cheated on his taxes and Reps. Maxine Waters and Barney Frank who employed improper influence to grant bailout funds to a bank in which they had special interests, how can the taxpayers hope to see justice served?
When these government agents, for whatever reason, refuse to police their own, Judicial Watch (JW)– using the legal process, educational outlets and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)–swoops in, like a conservative superhero, to ensure that we the people are not abandoned.
Although the DOJ continues to withhold documents related to the New Black Panther case, Judicial Watch, through FOIA requests, has obtained email documents that implicate high-ranking DOJ officials and the Obama administration in an organized plan to exonerate the lawbreakers—who happen to be black– for racial and political reasons.
Thanks to the tenacity of Judicial Watch, Charlie Rangel has finally had his day in court. While he should have been expelled from Congress, he has at the very least been censured, or formally reprimanded, on 13 ethics violations including misuse of his campaign office and failure to pay taxes on rental property in the Dominican Republic.
The House Ethics Committee once again displayed its impotence when it abruptly cancelled the trial of Maxine Waters. Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, of Waters’s home state, mysteriously suspended two key investigators and has obstructed the investigation on numerous occasions. This corruption scandal is especially relevant here in Massachusetts because Barney Frank’s fingerprints are all over it. Waters and her husband both held shares in OneUnited Bank, where her spouse was also a board member. She contacted Frank, who exerted his influence as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee to secure $12 million in TARP money for the struggling bank. According to FOIA documents, Frank was well aware of the conflict of interest yet proceeded to write legislation that allowed for the funding. For the record, OneUnited is now defunct and the money was never repaid. And what does Barney Frank have to say for himself? In his typical arrogant manner, he claims he did not request the bailout at the behest of Waters, but in order to help the comparably corrupt former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who was caught stuffing an $8,000 bribe into her bra. Apparently, it’s not illegal to be corrupt in Massachusetts.
Another scandal all but ignored by Washington is the government’s role in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which left taxpayers with a bill for at least $146 billion and triggered the devastating financial crisis. Once again Barney Frank lied to the American people, insisting that the companies were “financially sound” despite his knowledge to the contrary. Not to worry, JW has our back on this one too. They recently filed a FOIA lawsuit requesting documents of all campaign contributions made by the two institutions during the past several elections.
Did you really think ACORN would just go quietly after their scandalous tactics were uncovered and shared on YouTube? Judicial Watch didn’t either, and that’s why they have been stuck to them like oatmeal on a baby’s chin. In fact, JW is following them and their affiliated organizations as they slither underground, change their names and attempt to carry on business as usual.
These are just a few examples of the exceptional work being done by Judicial Watch. They will continue to be a valuable resource and advocate for the American people in our quest to bring decency, transparency and representation back to Washington. Please visit their website www.JudicialWatch.org and “friend” them on Facebook to follow their progress. They have compiled a “Top 10 Most Wanted Corrupt Washington Politicians” list. Four of them just happen to be Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barney Frank and Speaker of the Swamp, Nancy Pelosi. Drain the swamp indeed.