Mary Landrieu Corruption Case Reminds Us Of Danger of Right Wing Democrats

In the campaign to take back the Congress in 2006, too many people assumed that electing Democrats to the majority would be the same thing as returning control to the American people, and ending the right wing domination by politicians allied with corrupt corporate executives. Sadly, that assumption has not borne examination.

Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is a powerful example of a Democrat elected to Congress who has gone right along with the corrupt, right wing politicians of the Republicans she is supposed to be challenging.

In 2007, Senator Landrieu earned only a 20 percent progressive rating in the Progressive Patriots legislative scorecard for the U.S. Senate. That’s a lower score than some Senate Republicans got.

Now, Mary Landrieu is under the focus of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, which is recommending that she be investigated for possible bribery in a case involving a Republican-allied fundraiser and a two million dollar earmark.

Here’s what’s known:

Step 1: Republican fundraiser Randy Best founded a company called Voyager Expanded Learning.

Step 2: Randy Best hired lobbyists to obtain special congressional earmarks to provide government money to his company.

Step 3: One of those lobbyists arranged for a special meeting between Senator Mary Landrieu and Randy Best.

Step 4: Senator Landrieu’s staff asked Randy Best to hold a fundraiser for Senator Landrieu. At that fundraiser, Senator Landrieu received $30,000 from people associated with Randy Best’s company.

Step 5: Just four days after the fundraiser, Senator Landrieu inserted an earmark into legislation for Washington D.C. schools, for Randy Best’s company to provide 2 million dollars worth of materials and services – even though the Washington D.C. schools had not asked for any such thing, and even though Randy Best’s materials had never been evaluated for use in schools.

Getting 2 million dollars in government funds right after making 30,000 dollars in donations to the Senator who arranges the deal – does that look like a bribe to you? It sure looks like a bribe to me.

Mary Landrieu is up for re-election to the Senate in 2008, but so far, the Louisiana Democrats have failed to mount any challenge against her for their party’s nomination. That’s a sad indictment of the profound lack of character within the leadership of the Democratic Party of Louisiana. The Louisiana Republicans are certainly no better, but that’s no excuse.

If I were a Democrat living in the state of Louisiana, I’d be ashamed to let anyone know it.

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