In addition to Michele Bachmann who has abandoned her re-election campaign mid flight after it came out that the IRS is investigating her presidential campaign for numerous reasons (no, she’s not being “targeted” – these charges started in Iowa), there are seven more ethically challenged Republicans in the House. These seven are facing investigations or have paid a fine for their ethically challenged antics and are most likely to follow Bachmann’s flight from the House. Obama “scandal” monger Darrell Issa (R-CA) is not included in this list, though he operates under a permanent cloud of disgrace for his many arrests.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put together a list of the ethically challenged Republicans who are most likely to be seen running the other way when the words “culture of corruption” are uttered. They are:
Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) – under investigation by the IRS for financial improprieties.
Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) – under investigation by the FBI for campaign fundraising improprieties.
Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL)- under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) – refused to comply with Office of Congressional Ethics investigation.
Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) – fined after investigation by Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.
Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) – after refusing to pay his taxes, is still refusing to pay the fine.
Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) – paid fee after admitting to trespassing at his ex-wife’s home.
(Quotes compiled by the DCCC and myself.)
Congressman Buchanan, a lead fundraiser for the House GOP who CNN said might be “serving his next term behind bars”, is being investigated by IRS for alleged “financial improprieties.” The New York Times wrote in February of this year, “Federal inquiries surrounding Mr. Buchanan appear to be widening, as investigators examine allegations that his companies improperly reimbursed contributors to his campaigns and claimed improper tax deductions and that he failed to include all his varied financial interests in his Congressional disclosure reports […] agents for the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service recently contacted former employees alleging financial improprieties by Mr. Buchanan, who owns a number of auto dealerships throughout Florida and elsewhere and is one of the richest members of Congress. A federal grand jury in Tampa is hearing evidence in the case as well.”
The FBI is investigating former FBI agent Congressman Grimm’s (R-NY) campaign fundraising for allegations from congregants regarding “strong arming” tactics. There is a separate DOJ investigation. He had spent $321,209 on legal fees as of June 2012. According to the New York Daily News : “The FBI has questioned at least four people who worked on Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign as part of its ongoing probe into allegations the Tea Party favorite took illegal election donations… The FBI opened an inquiry into the Republican’s fund-raising after members of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s New York congregation complained he was strong-arming them for donations, as the New York Times reported in January.”
As you are no doubt aware, House Republicans keep telling us that it’s their job to “investigate”. They should add that it’s their job to investigate Democrats, as the House Ethics Committee said it would not form a special investigative panel to probe allegations that Aaron Schock (R-IL) improperly solicited super PAC contributions from other Republican lawmakers, even after the Office of Congressional Ethics called for a full-scale investigation, finding “substantial reason to believe” that Schock violated federal law.
In February of 2013 these allegations came to light via Politico: “The allegations against Schock stemmed from a bitter GOP primary battle in Illinois last year between Rep. Adam Kinzinger and former Rep. Don Mazullo. Schock backed Kinzinger in the primary, and he began asking other members like Cantor for campaign contributions in order to run TV ads supporting Kinzinger. The money, including a $25,000 donation from Cantor’s leadership fund, was funneled to a super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which spent more than $200,000 on the race on Kinzinger’s behalf.”
A Republican staffer and several aides refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation into Shock, and the staffer is now the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Republicans apparently like to upgrade their ethics dodgers. CREW found that Shock had also improperly abused his power to benefit himself and his mother.
The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee subpoena Rodney Davis (R-IL) for his refusal to comply with the investigation into Shock, but they don’t have subpoena power.
The News Gazette reported in February of 2011 that the OCE report concluded that the “alleged violation occurred” because of Davis’ refusal to cooperate. “The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred.”
The party is awfully proud of family values Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who was fined for having sex with two female patients. The Times Free Press explained, “Tennessee’s top medical disciplinary panel fined licensed physician and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais $500 for sexual relationships he had with two female patients, inspiring critics to say the punishment didn’t fit the crime.” This might help inform the reader as to why Republicans allow all male committees to legislate women’s bodies.
Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH), who had to pay $1.4 million in back taxes in 2008, was assessed $1.4 Million in taxes and penalties after he tried to shelter income. Before conservatives get their paranoia in full gear, this dispute dated back to the year 2000 and took off in 2006-2007, as he and his wife were accused of “misreporting” their income (hint: Bush was in office). They appealed the entire $1,395,464 assessment to the Board of Tax Appeals in June 2006. The tax commissioner calculated $954,650 in tax; $146,938 in interest; and $293,876 in penalty. [Ninth Judicial District Court of Appeals, Case No. 07CA0061-M; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/19/12] Note: Democrats have lost their nominations for much less, due to Republican outrage.
And last in line for the party of family values and “law and order” is Mark Sanford (R-SC) of the Appalachian Trail infamy, who trespassed at his ex-wife’s home and paid her legal fees for the incident. While you might only remember his bizarre jaunt around South Carolina asking women if they hated him, the Columbia Patch reported on his more serious issues: “According to WCBD-TV, Mark Sanford in court papers admitted to trespassing at Jenny Sanford’s beachfront Sullivan’s Island home when he visited his son on Feb. 3 to watch the Super Bowl. He has agreed to pay his ex-wife’s attorney’s fees.” Of course, he still got elected to represent South Carolina, even after his trouble while Governor resulting in allegations of multiple ethics violations, abandoning his post without telling anyone where he was in order to chase after his girlfriend, and some shady dealings with the plane.
These rogues are leading the witch hunts against President Obama instead of legislating for jobs, the economy, or anything of any value — though they are wasting your money putting on play votes to repeal Obamacare, while only working 126 days this session.
Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify that the 2000 state level invesgiation into Jim Renacci garnered national interest during the Bush administration.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.