District of Columbia,Who are to judge?
Who are to judge? We the People.
Colbert King questions the integrity of Congress to judge the goings on in the DC government. Stop right there. The District was formed as a special enclave as it is the home of the U. S. Government. It is like a city-state. It is supervised and funded by Congress that gives the keys to the “District” to all Americans. While the people of the District and the people of the nation have our beefs with Congress, including the recent trip by Harry Reid and the gang of 10+ to China, the District demands close supervision for these reasons:
1) A large percentage of the DC population have chosen to elect criminals as their leaders
2) Leaders have failed to govern responsibly in administration of limited resources
3) The district has one of the highest crime rates in the nation
4) The district continues to be home to a large population of poor and disenfranchised people
That is bad chemistry and the troubles of late seem to be getting worse, not better.
Therefore, like it or not Mr. King, our eyes are upon the District to clean it up.
Congress shouldn’t be the judge of D.C.’s right to home rule
By Colbert I. King, Friday, April 22, 8:02 PM
Two e-mail writers drew upon The Post to justify congressional scrutiny of the District and continued restrictions on the city’s voting rights.
District resident Wallace Holland cited an April 17 front-page story [“D.C. voting rights proponents’ faith in Obama sinks”] that contained this sentence: “What benefit could there be in championing the rights of 600,000 residents of a city with a sordid history of crime and political corruption?” Holland said the statement (the reporters’ expression) “explained very nicely why D.C. residents won’t be getting voting rights any time soon, nor should they expect to.”
Kern Standish of California, Md., quoted anApril 16 Post editorial: “Too many of the city’s elected officials face troubling questions about the conduct of their professional lives.” Standish said the editorial “nails an outsider’s justification for oversight of the District’s business.”
Far be it from me to quibble with readers or my colleagues. But if their criteria for rejection — “sordid history of crime and political corruption” and “troubling questions about the conduct of their professional lives” — are applied to inhabitants of the District, there is a group within our population that should take center stage. I’m referring to the 535 citizens within our borders who make up the U.S. Congress.
Stipulations: Marion Barry of the 1990 sting and diverse other shenanigans is one of ours. Yes, some city officials have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. True, we have some small-bore politicians with huge egos who try to live large on the taxpayer’s dime. And yes, once upon a time we had trouble with our finances and needed a federal bailout.
But when it comes to crime, corruption and troubling conduct, the U.S. Congress makes D.C. officials look like preschoolers.
Let us — courtesy of memory and the Internet — view a few of the ways members of Congress have excelled since Barry’s arrest.
Rep. Jim Traficant, Democrat of Ohio, was convicted on 10 counts of racketeering and corruption, sentenced to eight years in prison and expelled from the House in 2002.
Sen. Robert Torricelli, a Democrat from New Jersey, resigned in 2002, after 14 years in the House and one Senate term, following accusations that he had taken illegal contributions from a Korean businessman.
On Capitol Hill, crime is a bipartisan affair.
Remember Randy “Duke” Cunningham? The California Republican pleaded guilty in 2005 to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced to jail for several years.
How about GOP House member Bob Ney of Ohio? In 2006, Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements as a result of receiving trips in exchange for legislative favors. That got him a 30-month prison sentence.
Congressional wrongdoing is committed in true equal-opportunity spirit, without regard to race, creed, gender or ideology.
That was child’s play compared with Rangel’s Congressional Black Caucus colleague William J. Jefferson (D-La.) (he of the $90,000 in cash stashed in a home freezer), who is serving a 13-year sentence for his conviction in 2009 on 11 counts of bribery.
Even the mighty fall from grace.
Red state, blue state — it doesn’t matter.
Let’s check out a few more since Barry’s 1990 bust.
Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Nicholas Mavroules, now deceased, pleaded guilty in 1993 to corruption charges.
Republican Rep. Donald “Buz” Lukensof Ohio was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in 1996.
Mary Rose Oakar, Democrat of Ohio, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance charges in 1997.
The late Illinois Democrat Dan Rostenkowski pleaded guilty to two counts of felony mail fraud and was sentenced in 1996 to 17 months.
Joe Kolter (D-Pa.) pleaded guilty in 1996 and was sentenced to six months for conspiring to defraud taxpayers.
Jay Kim (R-Calif.) pleaded guilty in 1997 to violating federal campaign finance laws and was sentenced to two months’ house arrest.
The list goes on: the congressional post office scandal, the House banking scandal, Jack Abramoff, the Keating Five, Abscam, Koreagate. Sex on Capitol Hill? Meet Paula Parkinson and Fanne Fox.
And Congress, site of the “Convicts Caucus,” would dare judge the District?
One more thing. We’ve balanced our budget 15 years in a row. Can Congress say the same thing?