Washington, D.C. — What were the biggest ethics scandals of the year? Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its Top 12 Scandals of 2012, a dirty dozen that includes congressional corruption, public officials cloaking their actions in secrecy, and the biggest scandal of all: millionaires, corporations, and shadowy non-profits taking advantage of America’s lax election regulations in a blatant attempt to suppress voters and buy elections.
Relatively trivial matters like CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair, revelations that a few House Republicans went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee, and political posturing over “Fast and Furious” got more coverage than they deserved, while some of the real scandals flew under the radar.
“The Petraeus affair was titillating, but the failure of our government to enforce our election laws is disgraceful. What is more outrageous than the damage done to our democracy this year?” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The combination of a few incredibly wealthy people attempting to buy our elections and the widespread efforts to prevent many Americans from voting are the real scandals of the year.”
CREW’s Top 12 Scandals of 2012 (in order of significance):
- Jim Crow 2.0: Nationwide efforts to suppress the vote
- Government’s Failure to Adequately Police Elections: The Federal Election Commission and IRS don’t even pretend to regulate political spending
- Democracy for Sale: Wealthy interests drown out ordinary people thanks to Citizens United
- Rep. Rivera Runs Shadow Candidate in Primary: The strange saga of Justin Lamar Sternad
- Rep. Vern Buchanan Dodges Criminal Charges: Car-salesman-turned-congressman gets off scot free despite clear evidence of wrongdoing
- FBI-Agent-Turned-Congressman Michael Grimm Now Under FBI Investigation: Staten Island congressman suspected of multiple fundraising violations
- Transparency is so 2008 (Part I): The administration’s failure to live up to its promises
- Transparency is so 2008 (Part II): Mitt Romney’s historically secretive campaign
- Congress Unconcerned About Own Wasteful Spending: “Prince of Pork” Hal Rogers strikes again
- Failed Prosecution of John Edwards: Another black eye for the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section
- EPA Official Using Fictitious Email Address: What is Lisa Jackson hiding?
- Rep. Darrell Issa’s Mock Outrage: Gotcha politics puts lives at risk