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Vote for the Scoundrel of the Month

 

Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington--March ushered in Sunshine Week, and with it a reminder why the work of transparency groups like CREW is so important. These scoundrels may have thought they could fly under the radar, but we’ve got them squarely in our sights.

Who will be your pick for March's Scoundrel of the Month?

 

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ)
Although DOJ is certainly not the only government agency to shield information from the public, its penchant for secrecy is in a league of its own.  On actions ranging from drone strikes to the targeted killings of American citizens suspected of terrorist affiliations, DOJ has routinely withheld memos providing legal justification for its actions, effectively creating a body of secret law.  It’s no wonder the department has been namedthe most secretive in government for the second year in a row.

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National Mining Association

National Mining Association (NMA)
You don’t have to dig deep to find out why Congress foregoes as much as $2 billion in revenue each year by not collecting royalties from companies that mine on public land.  The NMA spent nearly $5 million lobbying Washington in 2012 alone —more than four times what it spent in 2000 — all to preserve its tax giveaways.

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Google

Google
This is one bit of data the search giant was hoping no one would find.  Last year, Google quietly made a charitable donation in honor of the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission while under investigation by the agency for possible antitrust violations — a crass attempt to curry favor with regulators that exposes the Washington influence game at its worst.

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Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ)

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ)
When Rep. Andrews used campaign funds for a family trip to Scotland, he probably didn’t anticipate footing the bill for the subsequent legal fees.  This month, the House Ethics Committee announced the formation of an investigative subcommittee to probe the Most Corrupt member’s alleged misuse of campaign funds and official funds for personal use, and potential false statements to federal officials.

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Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Young’s name seems to be perpetually followed by the phrase “under investigation,” and with the House Ethics Committee convening aninvestigative subcommittee to determine if he improperly used official resources or campaign funds for personal use and made false statements to federal officials, he may finally be held accountable for his dirty dealings.  CREW originally called for the committee to investigate the four-time Most Corrupt lawmaker in 2010, after the Justice Department botched its own probe.

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Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL)

Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL)
What sort of official congressional fact-finding was Rep. Bonner doing when he and two other lawmakers went on a Kenyan safari last year, paid for by a corporate-funded non-profit?  Rep. Bonner, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee at the time, claims he wasinvestigating al-Qaeda, but the whole episode just goes to show how the committee’s rules for lawmaker travel are riddled with loopholes.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
The 2012 election is long over, but Rep. Bachmann is still waging a major battle — with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Followingreports the (very) brief frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination refused to pay several campaign staffers unless they signed a nondisclosure agreement, it was revealed that several of those same staffers were assisting OCE investigators parsing through allegations of her campaign’s pay-to-play politicking and financial improprieties.

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Cast your vote between now and noon (EST) next Thursday, April 4th, and we’ll announce the winner on our Twitter feed the following day (so make sure you’refollowing us).

 

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