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W.Va.: 12-Term Democrat at Center of Ethics Storm

Ethics allegations against Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) hit the front page of two major newspapers last week, prompting fears among Democrats that the twelve-term lawmaker's reelection bid could be endangered, along with the effectiveness of their party's overall "culture of corruption" argument against Republicans in the 2006 midterms. With so much at stake, Democrats were quick to launch an all-out campaign to discredit the charges.

Rep. Alan Mollohan
Republicans are hoping allegations of ethical breaches by Rep. Mollohan will help blunt Democrats' "culture of corruption" mantra. (AP file photo)

The controversy surrounding Mollohan was sparked by a story in Friday's Wall Street Journal (and a similar story the following day in the New York Times) that revealed that the Justice Department is reviewing a complaint regarding Mollohan's finances. (The Times editorialized on the issue yesterday, calling Mollohan the "latest example of the sort of shady dealings that have sent Congress plummeting in the public's estimation"; here's a news article by The Post's Tom Edsall on the matter.)

The National Legal & Policy Center, a conservative-minded watchdog group, filed a 500-page document in late February with the U.S. Attorney's office in the District of Columbia alleging that Mollohan severely underreported his personal finances in past disclosure statements. Ken Boehm, the president of the NLPC, said his group began investigating the personal financial disclosures of all the members of the House Appropriations Committee last May and Mollohan "stuck out like a sore thumb."

At the center of the NLPC complaint is an exponential increase in Mollohan's net worth between 2000 and 2004 that was due in large part to a series of real estate investments. In 2000, Mollohan's personal financial disclosure statement showed him with $565,000 in household assets and $465,000 in debt; four years later his household assets were estimated at between $6.3 million and $24.9 million with debts of between $3.7 million and $16.5 million. (Mollohan has said his worth is much closer to the lower end of those estimates.)

During that same period, Mollohan secured more than $150 million in earmarked appropriations for five nonprofit groups that he helped establish and which are based in his congressional district. One of the groups is headed by a woman with whom Mollohan has invested in real estate in North Carolina.

"I very much understood that if you don't respond to a negative attack than the negative attack is likely to be successful," Mollohan said in an interview earlier this week when asked about his aggressive approach in response to the complaint. He added that he had never heard about the NLPC filing before receiving a call from the Wall Street Journal reporter late last week and still has not seen a copy of the report. (Boehm said much of the report would be available online in the near future.)

Republicans quickly sought to make political hay out of the complaint. On Friday, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) called on Mollohan to step down from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, where he currently serves as the ranking Democrat, until the Justice Department offers further guidance. Reynolds also suggested that the committee's current stalemate over investigating alleged ethics breaches might be the result of Mollohan's unwillingness to have it investigate him. Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) quickly echoed Reynolds's sentiments.

Republicans' motives are not entirely altruistic, of course. For the first time in better than two decades, Republicans are targeting Mollohan in his northeastern West Virginia seat, recruiting state Del. Chris Wakim (R) as a challenger (with the help of the White House). Vice President Dick Cheney will head to the district, which gave President Bush 58 percent of the vote in 2004, for an April 21 fundraiser to benefit Wakim. Picking up this seat would help offset what many political observers predict will be significant gains by Democrats this fall.

Given that backdrop, Mollohan has smartly sought to cast the complaint filed by the NLPC in partisan terms. "The NLPC has in the past targeted Democrats with charges that later proved to be without merit," Mollohan said in a statement released by his campaign. "Obviously I am in the crosshairs of the National Republican Party and like-minded entities, such as the NLPC."

In a letter sent to Reynolds and Hastert, Mollohan wrote that calls for him to resign from the Ethics Committee reveal "the entirely partisan, political nature of the attack that has been made upon me, and the reason this attack has been made." He added: "The reason is...that I strongly opposed efforts by the Republican leadership that would have seriously undermined the ability of the Ethics Committee to perform its basic function of enforcing House rules and standards."

Mollohan's campaign also is circulating a document titled, "Timeline of Mollohan standing up to Republicans to ensure fairness in the ethics process." It details his work to repeal changes -- backed by GOP leaders -- to how the ethics committee would pursue investigations. The ethics committee has been essentially deadlocked for the entirety of the 109th Congress.

The Democrat's campaign is sending around another document detailing the NLPC's past investigations and funding sources, which is titled "National Legal & Policy Center: Right-Wing Extremist Group." According to the Mollohan document, the NLPC has filed complaints against both Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). Cantwell was admonished by the Federal Election Commission for failing to report loan information but no further action was taken. The complaint against Moran was dismissed by the FEC.

Boehm took issue with the description of his group as a partisan entity. "We don't view ethics as a partisan issue," he said. Boehm said the NLPC has investigated a number of Republican congressman and Bush administration officials, including Darleen Druyun, who served time for her involvement in an a procurement scandal involving the Air Force and Boeing. "If we were just picking on Democrats we wouldn't have picked on her," Boehm said.

Unlike fellow Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (La.), who also finds himself under federal investigation, Mollohan is taking this controversy head on -- a savvy move given the possibility of a serious reelection fight in the fall. Much of Mollohan's fate is out of his hands, however, as it depends heavily on whether the Justice Department decides to move forward with an investigation. We'll be watching closely and will keep Fix readers updated.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 13, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

The right wing state run media (WSJ, New York Times & Washington Post) is so quick in reporting that Rep. Alan Mollohan is guilty. The Goebbels like people in these 3 media outlets have become such big GOP & Bush syophants that they cast all non-GOP politicians as guilty even before an offcial investigation concludes. On the otherhand when a GOP politician is in trouble they spin it for the GOP. This is similar to Nazi Germany. These 3 media outlets have especially become an extension of the WH, RNC & the GOP. Look at their records. Judy Miller, right wing blogger who plagarized, Plame case involvement, Bob Woodward, etc. They do not have an iota of morality to claim that they are fair & non-partisan. They are being sanctimonious. They asisted the WH, & the GOP in actively propgating the lies about the Iraq WMDs and now they want to show that they are bastions of a free press. They are no better than the state run media in the Nazi Germany, former USSR, the Chinese press, etc. Like a great American philosopher (I do not remember his name) said "Americans do not deserve America."

Posted by: GODs Child | April 15, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The right wing state run media (WSJ, New York Times & Washington Post) is so quick in reporting that Rep. Alan Mollohan is guilty. The Goebbels like people in these 3 media outlets have become such big GOP & Bush syophants that they cast all non-GOP politicians as guilty even before an offcial investigation concludes. On the otherhand when a GOP politician is in trouble they spin it for the GOP. This is similar to Nazi Germany. These 3 media outlets have especially become an extension of the WH, RNC & the GOP. Look at their records. Judy Miller, right wing blogger who plagarized, Plame case involvement, Bob Woodward, etc. They do not have an iota of morality to claim that they are fair & non-partisan. They are being sanctimonious. They asisted the WH, & the GOP in actively propgating the lies about the Iraq WMDs and now they want to show that they are bastions of a free press. They are no better than the state run media in the Nazi Germany, former USSR, the Chinese press, etc. Like a great American philosopher (I do not remember his name) said "Americans do not deserve America."

Posted by: GODs Child | April 15, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Mollohan's opponent was handpicked by none other than Turdblossom himself, Karl Rove. Not a whole lot more needs to be said about this issue. It's nothing more than good, old fashioned, GOP-driven character assassination. Rove's strategy: attack the opponent's strong points early and get them out of the way. That's exactly what's going on here.

Posted by: senecablood | April 14, 2006 1:02 AM | Report abuse

99 % of Americans adhere to a budget and find the best ways to get the “best bang for their bucks.”

That is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I read on this, or any site...

Posted by: Mark | April 13, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

This is pathetic. I'm not saying the guy isn't guilty, but until there is a full-fledged investigation underway, or somebody is pleading guilty and turning state's evidence, or SOME kind of smoking gun is unearthed, this is not worthy of a "screaming headline" story or the kind of nomenclature that CC has used in this blog entry.

It reminds me a lot of Whitewater, so far. Now, the guy may be slimy, in which case I agree the Dem leadership should throw him out lock, stock and barrel, but a counterweight to the scandals on other other side of the aisle? Save it for Fox News.

I'm no fan of the crazed lefties who scream that everyone is a criminal and a liar. But really, nobody smears an innocent man like the GOP does (even attacking their own when it's necessary for the master plan). So I'm skeptical, to say the least...

Posted by: Venicemenace | April 13, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Would it be safe to say that corruption spreads far and wide? Which way to point the finger is but a toss of the coin. Where does it begin and where does it end?

Posted by: Deskjet | April 13, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I represent what NIST calls a "smart wallet" in its Biometrics and Security Systems and Applications Program. This is the only biometric technology to be denied federal funding at all stages of its development/history. Unfortunately, when it comes to communications privacy, I haven't any and know fully the experience of what it is like to live a life of censorship. (It's ironic considering one of the DHS references to the smart wallet was regarding its respecting of privacy and not being able to lead to DNA round-ups.)

There is a particular government program going forth right now that I recently commented on at Government Executive's website. My comments were edited and the nature in which it was done--by what was cut-out, I could tell the edits weren’t done by Gov. Exec. editors but by investigators. What was cut-out was that Democrats were doing the exact same as their Republican counterparts with regard to corruption in the particular government program involved, and I offered as proof why. I now know as a result of the edits, I can't put that detail into print here or anywhere, most likely because it would give the Dems a heads-up on which tracks they must cover before investigators are done picking apart their records. There are many Dems that likely weren’t apart of the corruption probe that now just put themselves under federal investigators’ microscopes because of the most recent development.

The smart wallet was invented 8 years ago; the patenting process was started almost 7 years ago and the company was started 6 ½ years ago. I began heading its government launch just over 4 years ago and courtesy of corruption, no American has heard of the smart wallet or its inventor. The Senate called for a special investigation into the smart wallet's sabotage last July (suspended US operations in 11/04), but even in last July's hearing transcript if the reader didn't know of our plight, they couldn't have figured-out what the heck the Senate was talking about. I have on my list of corrupt officials, as many Democrats as Republicans. By far the dirtiest tricks were of Republican origin, but when all is finally investigated, the Democrats will look very bad, too! The investigation into Mollohan is far from a surprise, because this isn’t just a culture of corruption common to Republicans, but instead a Capitol Hill phenomenon! My experiences as founder of the smart wallet inventor’s US launch when I had in actuality as the largest investor been trying to gift the platform to the US federal government 4 years ago (have major ethical issues with making money off the misfortune of others and there was no plan to launch at home for many years b/c there was no consideration the US might be attacked) to evade becoming staff, have led me to take-on unique perspectives.

As the federal corruption probe advances, it’s going to become a “no-brainer” to Americans their need to force the public financing of campaigns. I PREDICT THE FINAL CONCLUSIONS IN THE CORRUPTION PROBE WILL MAKE AMERICANS EXPLODE IN OUTRAGE! MY OWN CONGRESSMAN IS SUCH A ‘HO’ HE SOLDOUT THE U.S.’ SECURITY AND AMERICANS’ SAFETY FOR IT APPEARS FROM MY OWN RESEARCH, THE SUM OF $ 1,020! I become excited if my monthly credit card bill is under that amount! That’s pennies and he is amidst the cheapest of hookers in Congress!

Every politician needs to prove fiscal responsibility, or they don't belong in office. If candidates are each given a specific amount of tax payer money to run for a level of office and prohibited from accepting outside funding, candidates will be forced to adhere to a budget. 99 % of Americans adhere to a budget and find the best ways to get the “best bang for their bucks.” What makes candidates so special that they shouldn’t be forced to adhere to the same standard? If elected officials truly were extensions of their constituents and reflections of constituent views, then they should be spending as the rest of us do: according to a budget.

A candidate that can't win office without working within a specified budget equal to that of their opponents isn’t fiscally responsible and doesn't belong in office. It is time for Americans to force politicians to prove financial responsibility in the electoral process before they win office to prove they are deserving of office. Politicians who can't “stretch the mighty dollar” in the campaign process better than the next candidate deserve to lose. With true campaign reform and the prohibition of outside funding sources, Americans could expect far more integrity from their elected officials as to how those officials cast their votes and appropriate tax payer dollars. With public campaign financing, odds are more parties would evolve (healthy competition) where Americans might find a candidate that more ideally reflects all their views instead of Americans always having each November to cast a vote for “the lesser of evils.”

Finally, if members of Congress didn't have to spend so much of their work week raising campaign financing, they'll have more time to do the work voters elected them to do, expect of them…and get bills passed in a timely fashion. With outside campaign financing prohibited, members of Congress would feel they owe far fewer favors, and hopefully none. Earmarks would virtually become a “thing of the past” so no longer delay the passage of bills, or their overnight insertion demand the revisiting of bills once passed to undo the overnight insertions that are best defined as dirty tricks designed to deceive other members of Congress and the public. The few politicians daring to “pull a Mollohan” ( of course, the expression is “pulling a Mulligan”) would standout and their motivations immediately go under ethical and judicial scrutiny. The public financing of campaigns likely would greatly reduce the bureaucracy in Congress and make members far more efficient, effective and competent. Wouldn’t that be a nice change?!!!

Posted by: Dawn | April 13, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me how Rep. Alan Mollohan, even if he’s guilty, provides a full counterweight to the GOP’s Tammany Hall-esque “culture of corruption”?

What about the entire Ohio GOP, Hastert, DeLay, Cunningham, Frist, Ney, Noe, Bob Taft, not to mention Abramoff, who himself helped corrupt about two thirds of the GOP? Mollohan would've had to singlehandedly accept billions in bribes and started up his own K Street project to influence peddling to even get close to the stench of corruption that permeates your beloved GOP.

You're more pathetic than Ben Domenech and that's saying a mouthful, bub.

JP
http://jurassicpork.blogspot.com

Posted by: jurassicpork | April 13, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I am a democrat, but wrong is wrong, kick any bum out of there that is not doing "the people's bidding." I don't give a damned about party affiliation. We've got serious problems in this county, and they are getting worse.l

Posted by: Shag | April 13, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the two parties and the reason why the culture of corruption is different for the republicans is because republicans do not believe in government (like libertarians). They believe that government is evil, and therefore it's ok to be corrupt and to game the system because it's an evil system anyway (you know, enforcing pollution laws, providing social security benefits, building roads, evil stuff that wouldn't be evil if private enterprise did it). Democrats do not believe that government is inherently evil, so they are less likely to PROMOTE rife corruption. Obviously there are exceptions, Jefferson and Ballance come to mind, but another key distinction is that their corruption is not ideologically driven. When Delay et al., join Jack Abramhoff on a junket to the Marianas islands to push for sweatshop labor, Delay et al. were happy to take Abramhoff's money because he was promoting something they believed in anyway....the destruction of government as a way to improve peoples lives.

All you have to do is remember what Grover Norquist said, "shrink government down to a size where it can be drown in the bathtub", and then you realize what the difference between the two parties are and where the "culture of corruption" comes from.

Posted by: Adam | April 13, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm a 16-year resident of Mollohan's district. This issue has gotten heavy coverage in the local paper (Morgantown Dominion Post, which is controlled by the Republican Raese family, including Bob Byrd's probable Republican opponent this Fall, John Raese). Big page one feature stories, above the fold, with screaming headlines, for the past week. I have read every word of the coverage carefully, with interest.

I am always deeply suspicious of politicians, and I think all Congressmen are best considered guilty until proven innocent. But the more you look at the actual allegations, the more you see that there are no actual allegations in this case. I mean, if the Dominion Post doesn't allege anything substantial, it seems unlikely to me that there is anything.

Personally, I think that Cillizza should have at least read and cited yesterday's Dominion=Post reply by Congressman Mollohan before posting this column. It is too early to draw conclusions about the facts here.

I am not a big fan of Allan Mollohan, and haven't voted for him in the past. I am still reserving judgment. But this story looks like a put-up job to me, pretty much like the Swiftboat thing. So, unless something more substantial comes out of this, this year I am going to vote for him.

Posted by: Strat | April 13, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Tim,

If enough people voted for the best candidate regardless of party, then we would have representation in congress of ALL political views.

It is the thought that a Libertarian or Independent vote is Thrown away that is leading us to the stagnation we now have. If you truly believe that the Libertarian is the best candidate, Vote for Him/Her.

It does several things, first it sends a message that people support third parties.

Second and most important, it increases the votes for the party. Federal funds are allocated based on the previous elections results. Every additional vote is more money for the campaign in 2, 4, or 6 years.

Third, If the party wins enough votes (5% I think) they do not need to collect signatures to have a candidate on teh ballot in the next election. That is HUGE for a third party.

Posted by: Dan | April 13, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think you can hardly compare any alleged ethics violations by the democrats as similar to the many, many, many alleged ethics violations of the republicans. In fact, only republicans thus far have pleaded guilty, meaning there is no alleged before ethics violations when discussing the republicans. That is the problem with this column, it is oversimplified and inaccurate often! There is no storm for the Dems, only a light rain. Respectfully submitted.

Posted by: Drew | April 13, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

It is usual for members of Congress to show increases of net worth during their terms significantly larger than what can be accounted for by their Congressional salaries. A prime example is Bob Dole, who grew up dirt poor, served in Congress for many years when Congressional salaries were low, and yet managed to greatly increase his net worth. No one can accuse Mr. Dole of being corrupt, or doing anything fiscally unethical. But that's the record, and the same result is common across the political spectrum. I've been puzzled for years as to why an enterprising reporter hasn't looked into this pattern.

Posted by: larry | April 13, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I find it amazing that National League & Policy Center "reviewed" all House members and Mollohan's is the only one they are filing a report on. Partisan politics - absolutely.

Posted by: WV | April 13, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It figures. The Fix absolutely refuses to devote any ink to the fact that Bush/Cheney have openly admitted authorizing the disclosure of Valerie Plame's CIA cover for political purposes...but the moment, the very INSTANT, a Democrat might have done something wrong...what do you know? Front page.

Hurry back Froomkin.

Posted by: J. Crozier | April 13, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing about this is not that it hurts the Dems chances of taking over the house, but that it further exposes a culture of corruption that has infused both parties in Congress. If we do not start electing better representation soon, our governing body will come to resemble, say Nigeria's in terms of honesty (or lack of it).

Posted by: Larry Berlin | April 13, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Again I'd repeat that democrats, or any other party, would be no better with complete control of all three branches of govt. Our country was set up for checks and balances, with the legislative (Congress), exec (pres), and judiciary (supreme court) to check each other. The supreme court (mostly republicans) effectively sealed power when they walked Bush into office in 00--who knows if they have regrets.
The supreme court has had at least one ethics question (Scalia and Cheney connection), the president has done things that the republicans would have destroyed Clinton for doing, and the republican Congress has done things while Bush continues to try to justify Iraq.

Unfortunately a two-party system is all we have at this time, but of course now we have one-party complete control, and no checks and balances among them. The best hope is to have the Democrats take back one branch of Congress so at least there is some top-down policing going on of the republicans.

When I hear people say I'm voting libertarian or independent (in which party I'm registered), it reminds me of a Simpson's episode where aliens embalm and take over the personas of Bush and Clinton. When Homer reveals it to the crowd in front of the capitol, one person shouts out "I'm voting Independent." The aliens say "go ahead and throw away your vote," to which Perot in the crowd stamps his foot and curses. The Simpsons, as usual, had a point. The difference here is that we have an opportunity to vote a group into office that will at least take us back in the direction of a checks and balances system--if only because of political infighting and slandering. A vote for an independent, libertarian, or Green candidate is a vote for the status quo. Face it.

For those who condemn the democrats as weak? Yes they are, but its not because of character, its because they literally are weak as the minority party in all branches of govt. They have zero power to pass something the republicans won't support.

Posted by: Tim | April 13, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I won't defend Mollohan, or anyone, if he has broken the law or behaved unethically.

But ...

if you wanted to deflect all of these ethical and legal problems that Republicans are having (DeLay, Cunningham, Abramoff, Abramoff, and Abramoff), you could go a long way by making a Democratic Ethics Committee guy the target.

The sound byte writes itself: The Democrats are so corrupt that their Ethics Committee guy is shady!

But that's the thing. The Republicans are good at sound bytes, not so good at substance, or you know, government.

So pardon me while I wait to see what the charges are. This is just a little too perfect to be believed.

Posted by: LM | April 13, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I brought this up a couple of weeks ago that you don't want to center Dem platform on corruption because they will get twice as hard by the press when one of their own gets nabbed.

This will help blunt credibility of Dems on this as a national issue.

At the proper time, I hope they (the Dems) come out with a more comprehensive agenda. There is plenty of substantative issues after 12 years of GOP rule in the House, 8 years in the Senate and 6 in the White House.

Posted by: RMill | April 13, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's just my faulty memory but can anyone else remember CC publishing a headline like "Democrat at Center of Ethics Storm" in describing Delay, Abramoff, Libby, Rove etc? I'd be happy to stand corrected but it seems that the hyperbole is both excessive ('Storm?' Seems like a tempest in a teapot so far) and unusual. Are there any "Republican at Center of Ethics Storm"-like headlines in CC's archives?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 13, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse



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April 13, 2006 -- Bill Frist uses IRS-like forms to lure contributions just days before taxes are due. First it was Elizabeth Dole who tried to con voters with a mailing that suspiciously resembled an IRS form. Now, just days before taxes must be filed, Bill Frist has resorted to the same tactic. These mass mailings are particularly targeted against senior citizens. The Federal Election Commission should investigate this ruse but as with all regulatory agencies, they are mere puppets doing the bidding of the GOP.

Posted by: CHE | April 13, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Dem's Duke Cunningham? If the Dem's so-called leadership had 1/2 a brain they would skewer him publicly and hold a picnic over his political corpse.

Instead they are acting like the weak rudderless politicians they are, and defending his apparent lack of ethics and pandering.

That is why I'm no longer a Dem and now vote Independent... they have become sleaze mongers just like the Republicans

Posted by: No Longer Democrat | April 13, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Culture of Corruption" is a difficult label for the Democrats to try to tag the Republicans with, especially given the scandals on both sides of the aisle.

Now, if the Democrats pledged that one of their first acts upon winning the House and Senate would be to completely overhaul the system so that all lobbyists could do is meet with Members and their staff in their Hill offices (meaning no lunches, dinners, sporting events, trips, etc.), that might help.

Remember, it's never the party that has been IN power for several years that can undertake major reform.

Posted by: NoVA Dem | April 13, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Did the WashPost get double-scooped here?

Posted by: Robert in Silicon Valley | April 13, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

We still have the best congress money can buy. Let me guess all of the republican and democrat concerns will translate into real ethics reform and congress will return to working for the peopls. Don't hold your breath. I personally am voting libertarian.

Posted by: Chuck | April 13, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Well I'd hardly say democrats are innocent, but it seems the evidence against Mollohan involves accusations by a right wing group and a local paper owned by a likely Republican candidate's family. "Investigation" of a democrat means nothing right now, considering the govt. is pretty effectively controlled by the Republicans right now. The fact that he made a lot of money in real estate from 00-05 means nothing. Most of the country did so, and many of us would also have additional significant net worth increases if our parents passed away. Comparing evidence against Mollohan versus that against DeLay is ridiculous at this point.

What really concerns me is that Mollohan seems to be the best ethics concern that a Republican controlled legislature and justice department can produce right now to evince that democrats are crooked too. On the contrary I wonder what a number of Republicans are doing that is just not being investigated properly, since they have controlled all three branches of government for the last six years? Again this is not to say any other party wouldn't do things equally reprehensible if they had complete control of a multi-trillion dollar enterprise for six years, but I seriously suspect that DeLay, Cunningham, Frist and others are only the very tip of the iceberg of Republican corruption.

Posted by: Tim | April 13, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't blame the press for reporting this as soon as possible (o my god, I'm writing in favor of the press).

The press could simply be trying to maintain the illusion of impartiality. They don't want to get bitten if this actually turns into something real.

Posted by: Dan | April 13, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Colin hit it in the head - Adam - I agree with you that allegations do not mean guilty - but this does not seem to stop Dems when it comes to Delay and others -

Is it not a tad bit hopeful to believe only the Repubs have dirty hands - while there is no finding Conyers has done anything wrong - assuming the allegations are true does it not bother you a tad that Conyers thinks he is so important he can order his staff to do personal matters for him and his wife?

The problem is Congress - Just because I will continue to vote Democrat does not mean I am happy with their "not me attitude"

Bobby WC

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 13, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Silent Cal & all those who blame the Republicans,

Silent Cal
Oh yeah blame the dems. Take a quick look at the Republician roster and realize that there are quite a few dirty birds. To say the Dems are the worst is just bias BS.

To all the Republican Haters:
The Dems have in the past played the same games (in fact DeLay just followed Rep. Wright's playbook to expand K Street) and are far from being "guiltless".

The culture of corruption fills the entire Hill, including its staffers. So much so we most likely will not have any meaningful lobby reform this year. With the Republicians in the House passing a bill clearly aimed to help them and the Senate talking about something completely different and neither talking about creating a neutral office to review their ethics. We got the same old same old and until we vote them ALL out and push for real change, this is all we going to get.


Posted by: LaughingVeryHard | April 13, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

There seems very little here so far. A Republican group raising a stink, but no statement from Justice. And while it might be unseemly to some, it's hardly unusual that people in Congress fund projects headed by people they know. Could there be more - sure. But that's far from clear from what's out there already.

Something that's occurred to me in all this is the following - is this a narrative being pitched to start raising questions about the propriety of appropriations practices in WV, and if so, if the idea is to raise questions about the ethics of that as opposed to just Mr. Mollohan's, is the target not merely Mollohan but also appropriator extraordinaire Robert C. Byrd. I partially raise this b/c for 3 or 4 straight days the Morgantown Dominion-Post has been running front page, banner-headlined stories on Mollohan, appropriations and cozy ties. And the Morgantown paper is owned by the Raese family. Yes, as in John Raese - Robert C. Byrd's likely opponent this fall.

Posted by: Armand | April 13, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Colin,

You forget though, that the media is just ITCHING to potray Congresses problems as bipartisan. Note the headline on today's fix. It took months for them to come around that it really is the republicans that are respsonsible for almost ALL of the corruption that's going on in Congress. And how long now has it taken them to turn around and say "both sides do it"? Oh, about 3 days. And this is based on what evidence? An ethics complaint filed by a right-wing group that is being "reviewed" by the Justice department. No actual evidence yet. No actual ethics violation, let alone criminal violation, but somehow because a right-wing group and denny hastert say so, then this becomes a huge Democratic scandal and the press falls for it hook line and sinker. Remember when the fix put Frank Ballance on its list of "current" members of Congress that were in legal trouble even though he had been out of office for a year? And what was the reason for this? To provide "balance" so it didn't look like the republicans were the ones that were corrupt. Well now they've got their newest flimsy excuse to provide false "balance". We wouldn't want them to be yelled at by republicans and called libruls! Heaven forbid!

Posted by: Adam | April 13, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, one of the recent articles on Mollohan noted that in addition to Real Estate gains (and his properties were in DC. Anyone that lives here knows that a LOT of folks have had their properties go up in value exponentially since 2000)part of his increase in worth is attributable to his Father passing away and leaving him a hotel in WV, amongst other things. Maybe the guy did something wrong - I don't know - but the mere fact that he's worth more now than in 2000 doesn't prove anything.

Also, I wonder how this "scandal" will compare with what's to come when the Abramoff stuff finally hits. Somehow I think Republicans may have more trouble labeling Dems as the ethically challenged party once a dozen of their members are essentially indicted on bribery charges.

Ultimately, Congress really needs to pass ACTUAL ethics reforms that creates some sort of extra-legislative entity to regulate this stuff. Self policing just leads to either NO policing or partisan bickering and abuse...

Posted by: Colin | April 13, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Please everyone, Mollohan, by virtue (excuse pun) of his Ethics Committee membership is exempt from being ethical. (It's a perk offered to get reluctant members to sit on the panel).

But seriously, unless he's really in serious legal trouble, I find it hard to believe that the GOP can field a SUPER candidate with enough money and name recognition to unseat this guy...his daddy held the seat for eons before he inherited it and his Appropriations seat has enabled him to install a water slide in every constituent's back yard (well, not so seriously, but you get the idea).

On the topic of not so serious, today's link is dedicated to the intrepid Scott McClellan...a old way to explain away new problems: "Ptolemy Told Me"
http://www.eyewitnessmuse.com/diary.php?p=211

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | April 13, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I would be interested in learning how Mollohan's networth went from $100K in 2000 to $2.6M in 2004. In that time, his debit increased from $465K to $3.7M (taking the low figure given) in just 4 years, a rate debt increase of $810K/year. Mollohan should at least explain how he was able to afford that.

Posted by: Alan | April 13, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

This doesn't seem like an ethics storm -- it seems like an ethics complaint by the NLPC. Big difference between the Justice Department reviewing a complaint and starting an investigation. Or, say, being under investigation by the FEC like Senator Frist. I think Mollohan needs to engage in full disclosure, but I think we learned from Whitewater that Republican attacks on Democratic financial dealings often lead to nothing.

Being at the center of a storm would involve dozens of interconnected players, like Jack Abramoff and Ed Buckham being at the center of Doolittle, DeLay, Burns, Ryun, Cunningham...

Posted by: Brad Johnson | April 13, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Grasping at straws, Intrepid Liberal. Ballance is in jail; Jefferson may soon be his cellmate. We'll see what happens to Mollohan, but the evidence appears damning. The Democrats have always been the dirtiest players in the game, and being in the minority has not changed that a bit.

Now, the Democrats may very will win in November, but that doesn't make their endemic corruption and lack of a moral center proper.

Posted by: Silent Cal | April 13, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Once again I ask the question: is the Delay scandle just a distraction from the bigger issue - Congress?

I am no Delay supporter - but no court has found him guilty of wrongdoing - me being disgusted over his actions does not make him guilty.

Once again - is the REAL problem a Congress unregulated by any real rules of ethics or right from wrong?

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 13, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to forget that Republicans had their own corruption problems prior to the '94 scandal. Newt Gingrich himself was implicated in the House Check bounding scandal. So was Dick Cheney from his days in the House. But the Democrats reaped the whirlwind. The GOP controls the entire federal government and they will reap the whirlwind as well.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 13, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

*sigh*

The Dems are just shooting themselves in the foot--again. First Conyers, and now this.

Way to go, guys. I've never known any political party to be so adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If the Dems fail to win control of one or both houses of Congress this fall, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by: Disgruntled | April 13, 2006 7:31 AM | Report abuse

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