There Is a Culture of Corruption in the GOP

Everyone charged, indicted, arrested and convicted in corruption scandals involving Jack Abramoff has been a Republican. By the end of the scandal, the same will be true. Jack Abramoff was a Republican lobbyist. He had more than 450 contacts with the Bush White House. Every single dollar Abramoff personally raised or donated went to Republicans.

Now, in a desperate attempt to smear the Democratic Party so that voters will be confused into thinking the scandal is bipartisan, there are "sources" who say that Abramoff is talking about clients who also contributed to Democrats. Really? You don't say. There were lobbying interests in D.C. who thought it might be smart to lobby both parties? What a shocker!

The question isn't whether some Abramoff clients thought it was wise to lobby some Democrats along with the great majority of Republicans they usually relied on. The question is what part of that was illegal? Remember, Abramoff is already in jail and Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, is headed there because they both did something illegal.

Lobbying isn't illegal. Taking money for favors is illegal. Now, in order to put out misleading headlines, people have attached the name of the Senate Democratic leader to Abramoff, saying Harry Reid took money from his clients. Do you know how many members of Congress have received campaign contributions from lobbyists? 535. Every single one.

The charge against Harry Reid is that he took money from Indian gaming interests who were trying to prevent another casino from opening up in another state. Gee, I wonder why a senator from Nevada might be interested in blocking more casinos from other states. Hold the presses -- they got him. The Nevada senator was trying to protect the casinos in his home state! I would have never guessed.

What part of this is illegal? And what part of using the press to smear your opponents doesn't the mainstream media understand?

Earlier in the year, The Associated Press ran a story about Harry Reid being lobbied by Abramoff's clients to vote against a minimum wage increase in the Northern Mariana Islands. The part they forgot to mention was that Harry Reid voted for the minimum wage increase! Unlike the Republicans, there was no quid pro quo. In fact, Reid co-sponsored the bill to increase the minimum wage on the islands against the interests of Abramoff's clients. They got him!

Cenk Ugyur is a host for Air America Radio.

The press has been hoodwinked by the right into thinking that it has to be neutral about every story. That is not their job. Their job is to be objective. There is a world of difference between neutrality and objectivity. Neutrality indicates that the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears both played well last Sunday night, and both teams are just as good. Objectivity indicates that the Chicago Bears beat the New York Giants 38-20.

Give us the facts, not some fake neutral version of the facts. Everyone accused of doing something illegal in the Jack Abramoff case is a Republican. Not a single Democrat took a dime from Abramoff. The Democrats who received campaign contributions from lobbyists did so entirely legally. The score is 38-0 in this game.

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