Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What's Wrong with Congress Today: Congressman Pleads Guilty to Tax Faud, Refuses to Resign House Seat

First, I want to say kudos to RealClearPolitics' Caitlin Huey-Burns for the informative article that inspired this post...

We are often berated with polls showing just how unpopular Congress is to the vast majority of Americans, but then again, few President's have much luck getting a majority of Americans to give them a proverbial 'thumbs up' for how their doing at their jobs either. So why the fuss?

The sheer scale of the public's disapproval of Congress is what should really catches folks' attention.

In a report released by the good number-crunchers at Gallup last week, 2014 was found to be the second to worst year for congressional approval since 1974. Just for those keeping score back home, only 2013 was a worse year for Congress. On average, Congress' approval rating for 2014 was just 15% (based on roughly a dozen polls taken since January 2014).

Now, before we get into WHY these numbers are so low, let's address one possible complaint out there about such polls. A lot of folks reading this are probably thinking, "so what, Congress has always been horribly unpopular".

Not true as it turns (something that surprised even me!)..

Also per the good folks at Gallup, while Congress has only rarely has the approval of a majority of Americans (occurring during the years immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks), they regularly had yearly average approval in the 35-50% range during the mid to latter-half of the 1990s.

There were also a few years where their ratings were as terrible as the last few years (1979 and 1992 specifically), they have never before been so consistently low year after year as they have been recently.

But here's what the scary truth is: Many in Congress couldn't care less.

How do I know that? Because of stories like that inspired this post today on RealClearPolitics.

Rep. Grimm of New York (R) has recently pleaded GUILTY to a felony tax fraud charge and also issued a "statement of facts" that acknowledges guilt in several other related charges (ranging from lying under oath to hiring undocumented immigrants), carrying a possible prison sentence of up to 36 months.

BUT he doesn't feel at this time that he could resign he newly re-elected House seat anytime soon.

That's right folks, this guy was just re-elected (rather comfortably I might add) to another 2-year term in Congress. What's worse is that these charges were known during much of the campaign and were (not surprisingly) used by his Democratic opponent in attack ads, but were not enough to scare off his constituents from voting..

Even with all these potentially damning legal charges against him during an election year, this former FBI agent won re-election by a 13 point margin.

So, wins re-election with 20 criminal charges filed against him, pleads guilty to one felony charge and de facto admits to the other 19 charges just 6 weeks after the election (convenient as hell), but thinks he is perfectly able and obligated to continue serving in Congress for the next 2 years.

THAT...is your tax dollars at work folks.

Dirtbags like Rep. Grimm are I fear, not the exception BUT the rule. Just as we saw in Texas' now infamous District Attorney-DUI showdown, regardless of party affiliation, many politicians in America today seem to be think they are ENTITLED to that cushy seat the voters have put them (whether directly or indirectly), illegal activities be damned.

What's potentially even worse is that such a large majority of congressional district voters seemed perfectly OK with looking past their charges during his campaign. Was it a "better the devil you know" situation or just blame complacency on the voters in his district?

Either way, just goes to show that some politicians will try to get away with just about anything to win your vote and sadly, far too many of us are just along with it, which makes US part of what's wrong with Congress today..


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

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