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Oh, Just Get It Over With And Call Me A RAAAAACIST

Wow, a third member of the Congressional Black Caucus has been brought up on corruption charges. Hot on the heels of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who seems to think that the tax laws he passes only apply to other people, and Maxine Waters (D-CA), who apparently tried to pressure regulators to save a bank her husband was heavily invested in, we now have Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who steered thousands of dollars in scholarships (from a fund overseen by the Congressional Black Caucus) to her relatives and those of her staff and supporters -- in direct violation of a "no nepotism, dang it!" rule.

The rule is simple: if you agree to give out the money, you can't give it to your friends and family. And that is precisely what Johnson did -- winners included two of her grandsons, two of her great-nephews, and two children of her top aide.

Johnson's defense: the barred recipients needed the money, it wasn't that much money anyway, and there weren't more deserving applicants who were denied. The "race card" is still in the deck, waiting to be played.

What IS it about members of the Congressional Black Caucus that makes them seemingly more susceptible to corruption? In addition to the above trio of scum, other past and present members of the Congressional Black Caucus include:

And just for contrast, former Rep. J. C. Watts (R-OK) made a point of not seeking membership in the CBC during his tenure in Congress.

So, what is it about CBC membership that seems to draw this kind of corruption? I have a theory, and it boils down to "Affirmative Action."

Membership in Congress comes with tremendous opportunities for corruption, and exceptional temptation. Politicians are, by nature, inclined to compromise and cut deals, so extending that into their own personal dealings is fairly simple.

It's even worse for black members of Congress. In the interest of "minority rights" and "diversity," state legislatures have become infamous for carving out "majority-minority" Congressional districts, where a majority of the residents are black and, supposedly, more inclined to elect a black representative. This reduces the challenges candidates -- especially incumbents -- face, by cutting into the pool of realistic potential challengers. A lack of competition tends to make most people -- not just politicians -- more complacent.

Further, these members of Congress have an additional layer of defenses when they are accused of corruption -- "the race card." They can simply accuse their accusers of being racially motivated, to be the victim of a racist attack, and that throws up additional obstacles in bringing them to justice. McKinney was notorious for this one, Jefferson played it unsuccessfully, and Jackson pretty much owes his entire career to his father's playing of it over decades.

Author's Note: Comments On Sheila Jackson-Lee corrected, thanks to Wally.

In a sense, it's kind of reassuring that in a time when the Democrats control Congress that three members of the CBC are facing charges of ethical violations. It indicates that the days of CBC members getting a little "extra consideration" when it comes to matters of ethical conduct may be coming to a close.

And that, folks, would be a good thing.


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Comments (17)

At the start, you said "She... (Below threshold)
Wally:

At the start, you said "Sheila Jackson Lee (D-CA)" although later you identify the state correctly. I regret to say that she is indeed from Texas.

Thanks, Wally. I should pro... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Wally. I should probably go fix that...

J.

Good morning ladies and gen... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen ..., and you, too, Steve, Dane and jimx if you're giggling maniacally and lurking out there somewhere.

JayTea and Wally, the CBC m... (Below threshold)

JayTea and Wally, the CBC member currently under investigation for banking corruption is Maxine Waters (D-CA), not Sheila Jackson Lee.

Oh, Crud, Michael, I KNEW t... (Below threshold)

Oh, Crud, Michael, I KNEW that...

J.

He's not a member of the CB... (Below threshold)
Village Idiot's Apprentice:

He's not a member of the CBC, but we have another fellow traveler with some ethics issues...

"State Sen. Ulysses Currie, chairman of a legislative committee that steers $32 billion in state spending, is accused of illegally using his influence to benefit a grocery store chain, the U.S. attorney's office announced Wednesday. "

From WJZ.com

It's quite simple JT...<br ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

It's quite simple JT...
They feel they are entitled to it because of their skin color.

Are all members of the CBC ... (Below threshold)
Donna:

Are all members of the CBC automatically Democrats too? Cause I noticed that every single one mentioned in the above article, past and present are all Democrats? Guess they need the money cause they raised the taxes on themselves too much.

It couldn't possible be bec... (Below threshold)

It couldn't possible be becoz I is Black?

According to the adopted rules of Black Ruling America, all charges should be immediately dropped, a raise given to all those unjustly accused, and counter-charges of racism levelled at anyone within range!

Here is the deal -- it is n... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Here is the deal -- it is not power that corrupts, it is immunity from the consequences of one's actions, and absolute immunity corrupts absolutely.

Power corrupts only in so far as it provides immunity. Power that does not provide immunity does not corrupt. And those that are immune from the consequences of their action can become corrupt even when they have relatively little power. (A good example of the former are the missileers in an ICBM battery. They have the power to destroy a dozen cities, but retribution would follow any misuse of that power.)

So what does that have to do with member of the Congressional Black Caucus? They are not necessarily the most powerful members of Congress -- but they are the ones with the highest degree of immunity.

No matter how crooked they are, their constituents will not replace them. That is a powerful form of immunity. Representatives in swing districts (D or R) risk getting voted out of office if their corruption gets too egregious. Because Republican voters are less tolerant of corruption, Republicans in even safe districts have to tone down their corruption. (Not eliminate it mind -- just "steal in measure.")

Republicans have another check on corruption -- the press. A Republican with his (or her) hand in the cookie jar gets outed by the press who often hound the malefactor out of office. Again, this does not eliminate corruption, but it does keep it in check. Democrats, on the other hand, get a pass from the press unless they are corrupt on a truly Caligulan scale.

Finally, for both D and R, get too corrupt and the Justice Dept comes after you. Look at Duke Cunningham or James Traficant. Again, does not eliminate corruption, because you have to be heroically corrupt for this to happen, but it serves as a check.

Except . . .

Members of the CBC have one more form of immunity -- the race card. They can accuse anyone investigating them of racism. And that is the ugliest and most career-destroying accusation that can be made in today's America. So prosecutors, the media, virtually everyone goes out of their way to avoid seeing corruption from anyone that could trump an accusation of corruption with a counter-accusation of racism.

The combination of these factors (ballot-box immunity, immunity from moral outrage, a complicent press, and the race card) means that members of the CBC have the highest level of immunity of any members of Congress. So it is unsurprising that they seemingly have the highest level of corruption.

Mark L,That's one ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Mark L,

That's one of the most insightful comments I've read in a long time.

Well done.

-syb

Mark L,Excellent c... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Mark L,

Excellent comment. I would add to what you said that 1) dems believe that the rules do not apply to them in the same way as others. Having a relativistic belief system allows them to justify their ethical lapses to themselves.

and 2) Many of the members of the CBC are believers in reparations. They believe that this country owes them something above and beyond what anyone else is entitled to.

So not only do the dems get a pass in many ways on their actions, they actually believe that they are exempt from the rules. There is always some special circumstance they will cite that excuses their actions while allowing them to condemn others for the same behavior.

You just have to be corrupt... (Below threshold)
914:

You just have to be corrupt enough to threaten the entrenched elite class to be prosecuted and dismissed 5-6 years later. Otherwise the got your back, or freezer if you will.

Mark L is correct in that a... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Mark L is correct in that analysis. That many of their constituents are not angry at the theft perpetrated on them as well as others always amazes me. They will further abet this behavior every time they go to the ballot box. Why aren't Rangel's supporters angry that Rangel has hogged up 3 rent controlled apartments that three others might be in need of? (Does he really even need the fourth one? What, doesn't he make enough money?) Why aren't they angry that stationery they paid for was used to solicit funds for his own aggrandizement? Why aren't they angry that he flouted the very tax laws he writes yet expects them to abide by them?

If you ask me, anyone who steals from me like that and then asks for my vote can go pound sand. But no. These people actually defend it.

I see this behavior from both sides of the aisle and I just don't get it. I can understand differences in policy, but I cannot stand a thief and a liar.

It boggles the mind. It's like saying, "Here's my vote! Steal from me some more! I love it!"

Self appointed black repara... (Below threshold)
Sadie:

Self appointed black reparations at the expense of their black constituents.

I think it is because they ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I think it is because they believe no one will have the guts to come after them because they WILL shout racism and that will stop it. But since the black leaders had just about made that word useless, not one is freightened now. ww

.... Illinois "Democrat," J... (Below threshold)

.... Illinois "Democrat," Jesse Jackson Junior, (In his defense, he's not been touched by "real" scandal ....

Sure.

Attempting to purchase a United States Senate seat not counting among "Democrats" and/or among other RICO racketeers, as being of the nature of that which would either "touch" one -- or reach the level of "real" scandal.




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