Over the past year, the issue of Congressional ethics has taken on new resonance. Wherequestionable conduct was once shrugged off as “business as usual,” now both the public and thepress are demanding greater accountability from Members of Congress. At a time when a recentGallup Poll reports only that 36% of those polled express approval of Congress, people aretaking a harder look at the actions of their own representatives.The ethics issues surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are well documented andfrequently reported. In fact, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) hasbeen one of Rep. DeLay’s harshest critics. Nonetheless, we recognize that Rep. DeLay is not theonly Member of Congress whose behavior merits scrutiny. There are a significant number of other members who have engaged in similarly egregious conduct, thus the name of the report:Beyond DeLay.In the following report, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)documents the unethical activities of thirteen Members of Congress: 10 House Members andthree Senators. Although much of the information is available in a variety of documents, untilnow it has not been compiled in one place. The allegations against some of those on list havebeen well publicized while the activities of others have gone relatively unnoticed.This is not intended to be a definitive list of all of the Members of Congress facing ethics issues.For example, other members, such as Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA),Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), have connections to now-indictedRepublican lobbyist Jack Abramoff that are worth exploring should either the Senate SelectCommittee on Ethics or the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct ever decide toinitiate an investigation into the range of Mr. Abramoff’s influence on the Congress.CREW has a dual goal in releasing this report. First, we hope to bring greater attention to theunethical conduct of those named in the report as well as to the subject of congressional ethics ingeneral. Second, we hope to galvanize both the House Committee on Standards of OfficialConduct and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics into action. The ethics committees of bothhouses have lain largely dormant over the past years despite the often appalling conduct of theirmembers. It is time for our representatives to take their constitutional obligation to policethemselves seriously, an obligation that members of both political parties have ignored to thedetriment of the American people.
To create this report, CREW reviewed articles, Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports andaudits, sworn testimony, emails, and personal financial and travel disclosure forms. We thenanalyzed that information to determine whether the information discovered suggested that aMember of Congress’s conduct violated any federal laws, regulations or congressional ethicsrules.