Hastert’s house of ill repute

In this installment of “109th in Review,” we’ll take a look at how mismanagement and poor oversight led to the shameful resignations of not one, but four United States congressmen in the disastrous, do-nothing 109th Congress.

Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California’s 50th District pled guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes from a defense contractor in exchange for federal contracts. The former congressman resigned his seat and is currently serving eight years and four months in prison.

Republican Tom “I am the federal government” DeLay of Texas’s 22nd District was indicted by a federal grand jury for being pure evil. The indictment forced him to resign his role as House Majority Leader. After careful review of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecutor determined that it was not against Texas law to be pure evil, so he settled for money laundering and conspiracy. Once two of DeLay’s aides pled guilty to Abramoff-related corruption, DeLay resigned from Congress. He is awaiting his day in court.

Republican Bob “Mayor of Capitol Hill” Ney of Ohio’s 18th District pled guilty to bribery and corruption just last month. He, too, resigned from Congress in disgrace and is awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors are seeking 27 months in prison.

Republican Mark “Do I make you a little horny?” Foley of Florida’s 16th District abruptly resigned from Congress after sexually explicit electronic messages with 16-year-old male congressional pages surfaced. He chaired the subcommittee on missing and exploited children and will likely be prosecuted under a law that he wrote last July. The last day of the 109th Congress was marred by this lurid scandal that gets more and more disgusting with each passing day, each passing revelation.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Foley scandal is the extent to which Republican House leadership went to cover it up. By last spring, knowledge of Foley’s affinity for the young was common in the upper echelons of Republican leadership in the House: the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. As the list goes on, this sickening scandal bears painful fruit: these Republicans were more interested in protecting their majority in Congress than protecting high schoolers from a sexual predator.

For condoning and covering up Congressman Foley’s reprehensible behavior and for overseeing a culture of corruption so pervasive that Jack Abramoff is a household name, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert must resign immediately.

The rest of the cowardly Republican congressmen-including Tom Reynolds who, physically hid behind a wall of children at a press conference on Monday-failed to speak up to protect these teenagers in the absence of Speaker Hastert’s morality, and must be held to account.

These Republicans are the problem. Your vote is the solution.

Chris Fisher is a senior majoring in motion pictures and political science. He may be contacted at c.fisher2@umiami.edu. He is so ready to vote Democrat!