New boss, same as the old boss

Nancy Pelosi is making the talk show rounds, telling anyone who will listen who she will put in chairmanships if the Democrats manage to regain control of Congress in the midterm elections.

She promises reform and a change in the old-boy network if the Dems take over.

If such hyperbole sounds familiar, it may be because we heard the same bullshit 12 years ago from the Republicans.

But things won’t change if the Democrats take over. We will just replace one cadre of crooks, scoundrels, con-artists and thieves with another. Democrats and Republicans are an equal match when it comes to moral lapses, ethical challenges and lust for power.

Former Republican Congressman Randy “Duke Cunningham” recently went to jail for taking bribes. He may eventually be joined by Democratic Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, another political crook who thinks votes should be sold to the highest bidder.

Republican Tom DeLay is out as House Majority Leader because he got rich off questionable deals with fatcats back home and is a central figure in the emerging Jack Abramoff scandal. Democrat Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, directed federal grants to non-profit groups back home while getting rich off real estate deals with top officials of the groups. He’s off the House Ethics Committee because of his own personal lapses with ethics.

Pelosi claims she will put John Conyers of Michigan in charge of investigating the many crimes of President George W. Bush. Conyers’ ex-staffers complain he assigns workers to babysit, chauffeur and tutor his children and pushed aides to do campaign work on government time – all violations of House rules and federal law.

When it comes to ethics, neither party can claim the high moral ground.  An NBC-TV investigation of use of corporate aircraft by members of Congress found both Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid fly high on the hog on jets provided by lobbyists and fatcat political donors.

Those who place partisanship above truth claim one party is always more corrupt than the other but corruption is neither relative nor a horserace. You are either honest or you are not and honesty is not something we find guiding the agendas of either political party.

If Democrats want to clean up Congress, they should start with members like Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida. During her time in Congress, she has eluded creditors, filed false financial disclosure reports and lied to the Internal Revenue Service.

“She cons people, pure and simple,” says Sheryl Wilson, a former travel agency owner in Tallahassee who knew Brown. “I don’t think she has an honest bone in her body.”

Rep. Brown has a poor memory when it comes to remembering her business dealings. The financial records that every member of Congress is required to file shows the Jacksonville, Florida Democrat failed to disclose the $40,000 sale of her Tallahassee travel agency and improperly reported the sale of her Gainesville agency. And she has omitted other required details from her reports.

Brown has left a trail of unpaid bills from businesses she owned in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Tallahassee during the early 1990s. In 1994, a consortium of airlines sued Brown for $94,000 in because her company, Springfield Travel Agency Inc., falsified sales reports and did not pay its bills. Delta Air Lines revoked her authority to write tickets because of an unpaid $7,237 bill. She also owed $5,697 to the University of Florida and tried to pay part of the bill with a bad check.

The IRS also went after Brown for $14,228 in unpaid taxes and the Whirlpool Corp. had to go to court to try and collect $10,227 in unpaid bills for appliances. But attempts to investigate Brown’s many ethical, moral and legal lapses have been stalled in the ethics committee by her Democratic colleagues.

So don’t buy into the hype that Congress will somehow be a better place if one party replaces another as the dominant political force. Nothing will change because both parties are corrupt and ruled by liars and cheats.

If you want to reform Congress, start by cleaning out the scum from both sides of the political aisle. It’s the system that’s corrupt and until we replace the system, nothing will change on Capitol Hill.

The Mafia has a saying: “New boss, same as the old boss.”

Congress is just another crime syndicate and crime bosses — be they Republican or Democrat — don’t give a damn about America or the people they are supposed to serve.