From the The Libertarian Party -- Sep 3, 1999
- From wife-beaters to drunk drivers, Congress is a crime wave, study says
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new investigation reveals an astonishingly large number of wife-beaters, drunks, shoplifters, check-bouncers, business failures, and drug abusers in the U.S. House and Senate -- which ought to make Americans think carefully before turning to Washington, DC for moral leadership, the Libertarian Party said today.
"Mark Twain once said Congress may be America's only 'distinct criminal class' -- and this new study suggests he was correct," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "If even half these charges are true, expecting Congress to serve as a moral role model is like asking Bill Clinton to serve as a poster boy for monogamy." According to an investigation by Capitol Hill Blue, an online publication that covers federal politics, a remarkable number of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators may have spent as much time in a jail cell as on Capitol Hill. After researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, Capitol Hill Blue discovered that:
* 29 members of Congress have been accused of spousal abuse.
* 7 have been arrested for fraud.
* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks.
* 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses.
* 3 have been arrested for assault.
* 71 have credit reports so bad they can't qualify for a credit card.
* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.
* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting.
* 21 are current defendants in lawsuits.
* 84 were stopped for drunk driving in 1998 alone, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.
Capitol Hill Blue did not list the names of all the individual members of Congress accused of the various crimes, but did note that some were "serial offenders" with extensive tracks records of fraud or violence. For example, reported Capitol Hill Blue, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) has a "long, consistent record of deceit," including tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, allegations of bribery, and numerous lawsuits against her. And Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) faces charges that he beat his wife, has a history of barroom brawls while mayor of Alexandria, and has publicly stated that he likes "to hit people."
"With a rap sheet like that, you have to wonder why Americans expect Congress to solve the problem of crime -- since Congress seems to be causing so much crime," said Dasbach. "In fact, if this study is correct, the best way to cut crime may be to lock up Congress and throw away the key."
And given the obvious economic incompetence of so many Senators and Representatives, you have to wonder why voters trust them with the federal budget, he said. "Here are politicians who routinely bankrupt businesses, write bad checks, engage in fraudulent practices, and have bad credit," said Dasbach. "That could explain why the country is more than $5 trillion in debt, why federal programs are so wasteful, and why taxes are always going up. Are these really the kind of economically illiterate people we want to trust with our money?"
If nothing else, said Dasbach, the Capitol Hill Blue investigation may help puncture the myth that Senators and Representatives are somehow superior to ordinary Americans, or better equipped to solve the nation's problems. "By its very nature, politics tends to attract venal people who crave power, who want to control the lives of other people, and who think they are above the law," he noted. "This study makes that point clear -- and illustrates that when it comes to politicians, the only thing worse than their voting records are their criminal records."
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