Democrats Mired in Ethics Swamp They Vowed to Drain

The party that vowed to "drain the swamp" if given control of Congress finds itself sinking into the muck nine months from Election Day, when every member of the House and 36 Senate seats will be chosen. In the past year, the scandals that have rocked the Democratic Party range from the conduct of governors in Illinois and New York to paternity problems for a former presidential hopeful to House ethics investigations that have resulted in one longtime lawmaker giving up his powerful gavel and a freshman congressman abruptly resigning. takes a look at the nominees for the Democratic Hall of Shame.


    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

    In 2006, then-Rep. Nancy Pelosi led a campaign cry to end "the culture of corruption that has thrived under this Republican Congress." When the campaign succeeded in restoring power to Democrats for the first time in more than a decade, House Speaker Pelosi vowed to "drain the swamp."  But Democrats in Congress and in governor's offices in New York and Illinois have proven that the swamp is alive and well.

    New York Rep. Eric Massa

    Freshman Rep. Eric Massa is resigning Monday in the wake of "allegations of misconduct" that reportedly involve sexual harassment against a male staffer.

    New York Rep. Charlie Rangel

    New York Rep. Charlie Rangel gave up his chairman seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax-writing policy, after the ethics committee admonished him for breaking House rules by accepting corporate-financed travel. Rangel still faces an inquiry over the way he used his position to solicit corporate donations to an education institution that bears his name, as well as the belated disclosure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in previously unlisted wealth. 

    New York Gov. David Paterson

    New York Gov. David Paterson is hemorrhaging staff members as he faces two misconduct investigations and increasing calls for him to quit.  Paterson -- who took office two years ago after his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, resigned amid a prostitution scandal -- dropped his re-election bid because of evidence he may have pressed the girlfriend of his closest top aide to drop charges of domestic violence against the aide.  He's also accused of breaking ethics laws when he sought World Series tickets and then allegedly lied about his intention to pay for them.

    John Edwards

    John Edwards is facing a federal investigation into whether he used campaign finances to pay hush money to Rielle Hunter, the videographer with whom he had an affair. The former North Carolina senator, who was the Democrats' 2004 vice presidential nominee and a 2008 presidential candidate, admitted for the first time last month that he fathered Hunter's child, now almost 2 years old. He and his wife are now separated.


    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is still fighting charges that he schemed to sell or trade President Obama's old Senate seat and swap official favors for campaign money. The twice-elected Democrat was impeached and removed from office last year after federal prosecutors arrested him on corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty.  Blagojevich continues to accuse prosecutors of persecuting him for routine political deals. 
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