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Nothing has exposed the rot at the root of the Republican tree in Washington more than the case of Michael Scanlon.

Scanlon is the Tom Delay protégé who is now charged with criminal conspiracy related to his ties to GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. According to The New York Times:

Mr. Scanlon is in legal trouble for his business dealings with Mr. Abramoff, with whom he used his ties to the Republican House leadership to build a booming lobbying and public affairs business.

Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff collected about $82 million in fees from Indian tribes over four years. Their dealings triggered the investigation that led to the criminal conspiracy charge filed against Mr. Scanlon.

The irony is that Scanlon is one of those zealous, conservative young men and women who – until the feds started investigating – was certain of his own moral righteousness.

As Delay’s press spokesman in 1998, Scanlon had this to say about Bill Clinton’s impeachment troubles:

“You kick him until he passes out,” Mr. Scanlon wrote in an e-mail message that was published in the Clinton biography “The Breach.” “Then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below!!!!!”

Mr. Scanlon certainly got around. According to some news accounts in 1996, he was the director of communications for then-Congressman Fred Heineman of North Carolina and vice president for policy research at Multimedia Inc., a Raleigh consulting firm.

These days, he keeps a lower profile. As The Times reported:

Except for one silent appearance before the Senate in 2004 – during which Republican members excoriated him for his treatment of Indian tribes and his refusal to testify – Mr. Scanlon has all but vanished from public view over the last year, retreating to Rehoboth Beach, Del., a summer resort several hours from here.

Documents, e-mail messages and interviews with his former colleagues suggest that Mr. Scanlon had an appeal similar to the title character in the film “The Talented Mr. Ripley” who drew people to his money-making schemes. “He certainly has a charm about him,” said John Feehery, the former spokesman for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

Mr. Scanlon, more than Mr. Abramoff, was flamboyant with his earnings. He owned several multimillion-dollar Delaware beach properties and rented a $17,000-a-month apartment at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington.


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One comment on “The Republican Culture of Corruption

  1. gpearce says:

    did you read deepak chopras post on this at

    Comment by puppypupdog — November 28, 2005 @ 5:09 pm

    So a corrupt Republican lobbyist is excoriated by fellow Republicans, and this is evidence of a “culture of corruption” in the Republican party? I’m not a Republican, but I would think that decent people would expect that their party leaders take a hard line against this kind of corruption, and that is exactly what this post indicates the Republicans have done.

    Trying to suggest that Republicans have some kind of monopoly on corruption is a dangerous game for Democrats. To illustrate, consider how Democrats have handled some of the more lurid examples of corruption in their own ranks recently. Hillary hides her billing records from a supoena to torpedo a citizen’s lawsuit against her husband, turns a miracle profit on a cattle futures deal ($5K to $100K in less than a week!), and is run out of the party–no, wait, she is elected Senator and becomes front runner for her party’s nomination for president. Bill Clinton serially abuses women under his control (raping one of them), lies about it to the American people and the courts, and turns his last night in the oval office into a presidential pardon fire sale (all proceeds to the DNC or Clinton library), and is he condemned by party officials? No, he is LIONIZED by party officials.

    Or compare how the Clinton administration handled the Whitewater investigation (lie, stall, claim phony privledges, strike mutual defense deals with potential witnesses, attack the investigator, etc.) with how President Bush has handled Joe Wilson’s accusations (ordering EVERYONE to cooperate with the investigation), and tell me again about a culture of corruption.

    The fact is that both parties have their bad actors, and both have institutional interests in covering up or excusing the moral failings of their own people. But the idea that Republicans are somehow more corrupt than Democrats is baloney–if anything, recent history shows that they are more apt to criticize corruption in their own ranks than Democrats are to do the same in theirs.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — November 28, 2005 @ 10:15 pm

    Hey, puppypupdog, I just took your advice and hit chopra’s blog. Reading the comments, I couldn’t help but think “What a can of Planters!” But then, it is a California thing.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — December 1, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

    Jim Stegall, thank you for making my week. i came on here to read some good solid Republican thinking from Carter Wrenn, and I found your posts, which make it absolutely clear that the base of the Republican Party is every bit as willfully stupid as I had secretly thought.

    Do you honestly think President Bush actually ordered people to cooperate with the Wilson investigation? I remember he said he would fire anyone involved. Ooops. I guess he didn’t mean that, since Rove is still working in the White House, despite being Advisor A. To hold up the Bush White House, which is as obsessed with ridiculous secrecy as any organization since the Stalin-era Kremlin, as some sort of paragon of openness and cooperation is nothing short of laughable.

    You, sir, are clearly not a moron. So what is your excuse for making such moronic statements?

    Keep up the good work

    Comment by John Burns — January 6, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    Thank you for accepting that I am at least not a moron. The fact that such a consession is remarkable is itself a sad commentary on the state of left-wing political discourse. I will return the favor by supplying you with the information requested, but first, let me point out that I am not a Republican.

    President Bush did in fact order the entire White House staff to cooperate with the investigation. Everyone whom the special prosecutor has asked to interview has made himself or herself available. There has been no claim of executive priveledge made in relation to this investigation at all. What more would you have him do, torture confessions out of them? I thought that that method was currently out of favor with those of you on the left. Perhaps I am mistaken.

    As for the status of Karl Rove, I read and heard the same reports of his connection with this affair that you did. If you would go back and examine them again with an open mind, I think you might be surprised to learn that not one of them accuse Mr. Rove of being the source of the supposedly confidential information (Ms. Plame’s identity and covert status) at the heart of this case. The most that could be said about him is that when reporters told him that they had heard that “Mrs. Wilson” worked at the CIA and had arranged for her husband to go to Niger, he allowed as how he had heard that too. He never said that this “Mrs. Wilson” was a covert agent, and he never identified her by name. Do you really think that this is what Joe Wilson was talking about when he made his ridiculous accusations about his wife’s cover being blown? Do you really think that makes Mr. Rove guilty of anaything?

    If you do sir, then it is you who are being willfully ignorant.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — January 13, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

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