JUNE 22, 2007
Amid a series of bipartisan legal scandals and corruption probes, it’s no wonder that the nation’s confidence in Congress is at an all-time low.
According to a national poll conducted by an esteemed organization that has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years, Americans’ confidence in Congress has never been worst.
The 14% confidence rating of the country’s federal lawmaking bodies is actually the lowest of the 16 institutions tested in this year’s Gallup Confidence in Institutions survey. It also ranks among one of the all time lowest confidence ratings for any institution tested in the last 30 years.
The survey reveals that, in the eyes of Americans, Congress is in the same negative rank as the notoriously lowly esteemed Health Maintenance Organizations. This is a far cry from the highest rating Congress has ever received – 40% during the Watergate era in the 1970s and again in 1986.
There is a good reason for this all-time low confidence rating from constituents. A series of corruption scandals as well as allegations of unethical behavior, in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, have practically dominated the news recently.
Highlights include a Republican California Congressman (Randy Duke Cunningham) serving eight years in prison for taking more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, a Republican Ohio Congressman (Bob Ney) jailed for taking bribes in the mega corruption scheme involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and an Ohio Democrat (James Traficant) sentenced to eight years for racketeering and accepting bribes.
Just recently, a nine-term Democrat Louisiana Congressman (William Jefferson) was federally indicted for accepting hefty bribes over the years. He was actually caught in the act when federal agents video taped him accepting a bag full of cash and later found $90,000 – wrapped in aluminum foil–stashed in the freezer of his home.
Then there is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi secretly inserting a last-minute provision into a multi billion-dollar redevelopment bill that benefited her husband financially and her highly publicized, taxpayer-financed lavish jet to ferry her and her entourage from coast-to-coast.
Meanwhile, Pelosi’s California pal in the Senate, Democrat Dianne Feinstein was forced to resign as chair of a powerful military construction committee after she was exposed for abusing her position to award her rich husband’s companies billions of dollars in government contracts.
While these are simply recent highlights, the bipartisan Congressional corruption list goes on and on. Clearly, Americans are taking note as is reflected in the latest survey.
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