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:
- Former Rep. William “Cold Cash” Jefferson, D-LA. (Currently in prison)
- Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
- Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) (but in his defense, his corruption seems to predate his membership in the CBC)
- Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) (In his defense, he’s been personally untouched by real scandal, but he spent years as his father’s protege’ and right-hand man, so the odds are pretty high he’s been involved in at least a few underhanded dealings)
- Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), leading candidate for “Queen Of The Moonbats” and Congressional Police-Puncher.
- Former Senator Barack H. Obama (D-IL)
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.