Thursday, February 08, 2007

It is time to start busting the corrupt, no matter how high up

Watchdog group hits at corrupt administration officials

Brian Beutler
Published: Wednesday February 7, 2007

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Today, the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a list of the “25 Most Corrupt Members of the Bush Administration”.

The online version of the new report, which contains neither cabinet-level officials nor Vice President Dick Cheney, is comprised largely of obscure current and former political appointees working within a number of executive agencies and other administration bureaucracies.

According to CREW’s blog, “The majority of the officials in the report have been convicted of crimes, are currently under criminal investigation, or are being investigated by the inspector generals of their respective agencies.”

Among the more prominent officials named in the report—which provides links to a dossier on each person on the list—are Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, Ken Tomlinson, and David Safavian.

As the executive director appointed by former chief spy Porter Goss, Foggo was the third-highest ranking official at the CIA. He resigned last year amid suspicion that he had unethically awarded lucrative contracts to Brent Wilkes, who is under investigation for bribing disgraced former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA).

According to CREW “The CIA’s Office of the Inspector General also conducted an investigation into whether Mr. Foggo failed to properly inform the agency of free trips and gifts he received from Mr. Wilkes, but the results of that investigation have not been publicly disclosed.”

Ken Tomlinson, resigned as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) after an internal investigation found that he had purposefully attempted to make CPB a more conservative and administration-friendly media outlet.

Safavian, the former General Services Administration official who was recently convicted of making false statements and obstruction, made headlines during the Abramoff scandal for accepting lucrative trips from the corrupt powerbroker in exchange for help with Abramoff’s business deals.

CREW indicated that it did not include former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby – now on trial for his role in obstructing Patrick Fitzgerald’s inquiry into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame – because of their role as counsel for Plame and her husband Joe Wilson.

The disclaimer at the bottom of the executive summary reads: “Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, though a high-level administration official under indictment, was not included in the report because CREW serves as counsel to Joseph and Valerie Wilson and, in a December 21, 2006 order, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton strictly prohibited CREW from commenting on the Libby matter for the duration of the criminal case. For the same reason, we have not included anyone else involved in publicly disclosing the identity of former CIA covert officer Valerie Wilson.”

CREW also releases an annual list of most-corrupt members of Congress.

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