Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) by Nancy Ohanian
The U.S. has an ongoing program-- largely ineffective and even dysfunctional-- of bullying foreign countries with sanctions against corrupt and undemocratic public officials. This morning Chris Sabatini-- an internationally-recognized expert in Latin America's problems with human rights and democracy-- wrote that "Blinken recently announced sanctions against seven public officials in El Salvador and Guatemala, including five Salvadoran Supreme Court justices, putting them on the State Department’s official list of 'Undemocratic and Corrupt Actors.' This round added to the more than 300 individuals the United States had already placed sanctions on."
That's nice... but I looked at that list and couldn't find Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, Josh Gottheimer or Kurt Schrader on it. Nor Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer or even Señor Trumpanzee, surely more corrupt than any of the El Salvadorean Supreme Court justices. The U.S. is riven with systemic, institutionalized corruption. As a society we seem incapable of dealing with it.
I could be wrong about this but I believe that CREW-- Citziens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington-- suspended it's annual "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" report after the 2013 report, which is no longer on the group's website. I believe that was a decision made by the groups' very corrupt new ceo, David Brock, since ousted. The pressure must have been intense. In that report they named 13 congressional criminals, 7 of whom are still in Congress:
Vern Buchanan (R-FL), a fifth appearance on the list, mostly for tax evasion and an illegal campaign contribution schemes.
Don Young (R-AK), also for the fifth time, also illegal campaign funds-related.
Gregory Meeks (D-NY), his third appearance, mostly for taking bribes.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)-- where do you even start!!
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for selling favors to campaign donors.
David Valadao (R-CA) for enriching himself by abusing his position on the House Appropriations Committee.
Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) for drugging and raping dental patients
Would Sinema be on the list if it existed today? Would this kind of thing cause an investigation by CREW-- since it most definitely has not caused an investigation of the Department of Justice or even the Senate Ethics Committee:
Today, Elizabeth Warren went all in on calling out a culture of corruption among high-ranking Federal Reserve officials, based largely on reports of ethically questionable financial activity and obvious conflicts of interest by by some of these crooks-- including Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida (appointed by Trump) and two regional Fed presidents-- Robert Kaplan (appointed by Obama) and Eric Rosengren (appointed by George W. Bush)-- eroding public confidence in the Fed. Although I would have liked to have seen her take on the most forbidden of Senate topics-- noting there are bribe takers in the Senate itself-- she did say today that "In the last Congress, I introduced sweeping ethics legislation, the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act. This legislation would ban all individual stock ownership by Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, senior congressional staff, federal judges, White House staff, and other senior agency officials while in office. It would prohibit all government officials from holding or trading stock if its value might be influenced by their agency, department, or actions. And it would require senior government officials and White House staff to divest from privately owned assets that could present conflicts. This far-reaching legislation would also tighten conflict of interest and recusal requirements and shut the revolving door between industry and government. This proposal won’t solve every problem-- and for any officials who have engaged in illegal insider trading, we don’t need a new law to hold them accountable. But this proposal would dramatically reduce the possibility for any appearance of impropriety at the Fed-- and at every other federal agency, and in Congress, and at the White House."
Bernie, on This Week Sunday: "We're taking on the entire ruling class of this country. Right now the drug companies, the health care-- the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent us from doing what the American people want, and this really is a test of whether or not American democracy can work." Bernie is taking them on; Sinema, Manchin, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and the entire Republican Party-- as in every single Republican member of Congress-- is defending defending them and undermining Democrats' efforts. Bernie referred to Republicans as "bought and paid for," but left it for viewers to draw their own conclusions about characters like Sinema, Manchin, Correa, Gottheimer, Schrader, Terry McAuliffe, et al.