Matt Margolis & Mark Noonan

As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rahm Emanuel pressured Republicans to return campaign contributions they received from Tom DeLay’s political action committee after his indictment, yet refused to return thousands of dollars in contributions made to the DCCC from convicted felons. Meanwhile, Emanuel has his own connections to the corrupt Chicago Mayor Daley’s political machine and was elected to congress with the help of city employees helping his campaign while on the clock.

And, despite his venomous rhetoric against lobbyists, Emanuel had employed lobbyist William Singer as his campaign committee treasurer. He quietly let him go for “obvious” reasons in early 2006.

While the current investigations into Republican congressmen John Doolittle and Rick Renzi have provided Democrats with fresh fodder to re-launch their crusade against the so-called Republican "culture of corruption," Emanuel had no fears of being called a hypocrite for assuming the moral ground over ethics and corruption, because his own ethical transgressions and corrupt connections (and those of his party) have remained under the radar of the national media.

Sadly, the Democrats assuming of the moral high ground on ethics and corruption has not come with any self-appraisal of their role in corrupting politics. In fact, the investigations of Doolittle and Renzi provide a stark contrast between how the two parties handle scandals. Renzi and Doolittle have both resigned from their committee assignments while Democratic congressmen William Jefferson and Alan Mollohan, also under investigation, continue to serve on their respective committees, and have not been pressured by their party leadership to step down. Other recent ethical lapses of Democrats have unfortunately failed to catch the attention of the mainstream media, including Senator Dianne Feinstein’s approving of military construction projects to defense contractors largely owned by her husband while she served as chair and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, a series of questionable land deals of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s that resulted in huge profits, and a slew of scandals surrounding Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, just to name a few.

The American people need an open, honest, and ethical Congress. But, this cannot be accomplished by demands that only one party rid itself of its corrupt members while allowing the other to not just turn a blind eye to their own corruption, but actually reward corrupt members with plum committee assignments. Democrats, for all their calls for clean government, are unwilling to root out corruption in their own party, and the mainstream media has failed to hold them accountable.

Because corruption in government is a bipartisan problem it requires a bipartisan solution. It is not enough for members of the Democratic Party to give speeches and sermonize against corruption in the Republican Party without showing the faintest interest in leading by example.

As the Democrats re-launch their crusade against the so-called “culture of corruption” in Washington, D.C. it is time for we, the people to start demanding accountability on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans, punished at the polls this past November, are already far along the path to cleaning their own house. And now that the Democrats are back in power, it is time to give corruption in the Democratic Party its proper notice.

Matt Margolis & Mark Noonan

Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan are authors of the new book, Caucus of Corruption

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