OCTOBER 24, 2006
Government corruption is on the rise with a drastic increase in convictions over the last five years and more than 400 lawbreaking public officials from both major parties charged with crimes in 2005 alone.
The Public Integrity division of the Department of Justice has released alarming figures that illustrate the severity of the situation within the United States Government and the massive betrayal of elected officials who took an oath to serve their constituents.
The latest annual Justice Department report shows a 60% rise in government corruption convictions in the last five years and a huge increase in the number of government officials charged with crimes throughout the nation.
Last year federal prosecutors around the country obtained 390 convictions among the 445 officials charged with corruption. Additionally, many more bipartisan investigations are under way that could result in charges or convictions to further boost the already high figures.
The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section investigates and prosecutes federal, state and local officials as well as election and conflict of interest crimes. It also has exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of criminal misconduct on the part of federal judges and supervises the administration of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, which was passed in the wake of the Watergate Scandal and sets financial disclosure requirements for public officials.
Unfortunately, the department is grossly understaffed with only 29 attorneys in charge of investigating and prosecuting hundreds of complicated and often high-profile cases. In the last month alone, it has advanced inquiries involving two House Republicans (Florida’s Mark Foley and Arizona’s Jim Kolbe) being investigated for illegal sexual contact with teenaged Congressional pages as well as an investigation into Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon, suspected of steering $1 million in contracts to his daughter’s lobbying firm.
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