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Corruption Nation

The New York Times reported today that the FBI’s focus on public corruption now includes more than 2,000 – that’s two thousand – investigations. "I don’t think anybody recognized the number and quality of cases we would generate," said Chris Swecker, an FBI criminal enforcement official.

The Times believes that "the results suggest that wrongdoing by public officials at all levels of government is deeply rooted and widespread"… something much of the American public seems to have already figured out.

While this large total involves investigations at all levels of government, the list includes very high-profile targets, such as the wide-ranging probe into L’Affair Abramoff, and the rapidly expanding federal look-see into the bribery scandal centered on former (and now imprisioned) Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.)  (See the Corruption Headlines below for new developments in that story.) The Times does generously note, however, that "not all high-profile cases involve Republicans."

Most amusing of all, the paper calls the initiative "one of the Bush administration’s least known anticrime efforts." I’d venture to guess that it’s one of the least known within the Bush Administration itself. After all, what are the chances that this administration has been actively pushing criminal investigations into the activities of the Republican-controlled Congress, investigations which are not only leading to indictments and prison terms but which might also cost them dearly in the mid-term elections? Certainly this was not Karl Rove’s brainchild.

As FBI director Robert S. Mueller III remarked, "… you come to realize first of all that public corruption tears the fabric of a democratic society. You lose faith in public officials, it leads to cynicism, it leads to distrust in government."

You can say that again, brother.

-Gordon Clark