Washington has witnessed a storm of "pay-to-play" corruption scandals in Congress over the last year, both admitted and alleged. And on the campaign trail congressional Democrats are charging the GOP with creating a "culture of corruption" on their watch. Yet if they win, they are poised to hand a much-abused spending post to a Democrat with a long reputation for porkbarrel politics and "back room" deals.
If the Dems take control of the House in November, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), now lauded by Democratic activists for his tough stand on Iraq, is poised to retake the helm of an appropriations panel charged with spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense-related projects, which he last chaired in the early 1990s. He may even ascend to be Majority Leader in a Democratically controlled House.
Yet Murtha -- who U.S. News and World Report once called "one of Capitol Hill's most accomplished masters at the art of pork" -- presides over a tightly connected network of favored lobbyists, former staffers and major campaign contributors that bears a striking resemblance to those maintained by some of the tarnished Republicans he would likely replace.
Read the whole thing, which is full of interesting specifics. This is a bipartisan issue, as the "culture of corruption" is not the culture of a party, but the culture of a political class.