In a journalistic attempt to be a bit more even-handed that an august perpetrator of ideology like the NYT would never embark upon, the Washington Post has a long article on West Virginia solon Alan Mollohan who
set up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars he directed to such public endeavors as high-tech research and historic preservation.
Over the same period, Mollohan's personal fortunes soared. From 2000 to 2004, his assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million. The partners in his rapidly expanding real estate empire included the head of one of these nonprofit groups and the owner of a local company for which he arranged substantial federal aid.
Mollohan used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to secure more than $150 million for five nonprofit groups. One of the groups is headed by a former aide with whom Mollohan bought $2 million worth of property on Bald Head Island, N.C.
Controversy over this blending of commerce and legislation has triggered a federal probe, cost Mollohan his position on the House ethics committee and undermined the Democrats' effort to portray the GOP as the party of corruption because of the Jack Abramoff scandal. As early as today, the 12-term congressman will admit that he misstated some transactions in his congressional filings, according to Mollohan staffers.
"Mollohan has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to groups associated with his own business partners. That immediately raises the question whether these funds were allocated to promote the public good or to promote his interests and the interests of his partners," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group. "He also got very rich very quick, and that suggests a relationship that is suspect if not corrupt."
No, "corrupt" is reserved for Democrats in describing the vast right-wing conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer. Dems partake in petty peculation, at most, unless you are Ron Burkle and his bachelor buddy jetting all round the world setting up gigantic Ponzi operations [okay, I take that last sentence back and will let the LAT look into that particular operation].
Mollohan was questioned at length by a radio interviewer from Weirton about his business connections. But everywhere else, Mollohan -- the son of a longtime congressman and a cousin of a former senator -- was welcomed as a patron of the state. At a huge police training event in Moundsville, a federal employee thanked him for providing the money for "everything you see today." In Morgantown, at a meeting about a missing-child alert system that his legislation had underwritten, he received a standing ovation.
In an interview, Mollohan said he is unapologetic and proud of the thousands of jobs he has brought to West Virginia and that, legally speaking, everything he has done to secure them is "squeaky clean." But he acknowledged that his actions might look incriminating and that he may have had an ethical "blind spot" that prevented him from questioning whether he, as a government official and vice chairman of the ethics panel, should have invested with such close associates.
After Senator Byrd invested a quarter century in his edifice complex encompassing much of W.Va as federally-built drone hives for desk jockeys, bureaucrats, and other walking drains on the taxpayer, one would have thought that there was little room left for padding the folks back home in The Mountain State with more Fed handouts.
And those tricky "ethical blind spots" are especially hard to discern if one is Vice Chairman of the House Ethics Committee! Yup, his ethical tasks on the Ethics Panel probably blinded him to the pitfalls of investing with "such close" associates!
And that $90.000 in cold cash was deposited in Rep. Jefferson's home freezer by someone else in order to freeze his assets, without his knowing it!
And Cynthia McKinney was right to punch out a Capitol Police officer because he didn't recognize the exploding Brillo-pad hairdo as befitting a Congressperson!
And Patrick Kennedy never went near a bar [that was a false spotting at the Hawk and Dove by a bartender who thought he saw regular patron Kennedy boozing just before the 3AM drunken [oops, Ambien] driving incident on his way to vote on a pre-dawn bill a day after Congress had adjourned] and certainly should have been driven home without a DUI. His father got off with manslaughter, why shouldn't he get off with a stint at the Mayo Clinic?
Well, if the Repubs are a culture of "corruption," could we call the Dems a culture of "ethical, moral, and legal blindspots?"