APRIL 01, 2009
Corruption among public officials has more than doubled in the last few years and federal authorities have at least 2,500 public corruption investigations pending throughout the nation.
The alarming statistics were revealed by Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Robert Mueller, who told a congressional panel that public corruption probes have surged by nearly 60% in the last five years and there seems to be no sign of a decrease.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mueller said his agency is overwhelmed with the unprecedented number of mortgage fraud cases as well as public corruption probes. In the past two years alone, the Justice Department has convicted 1,618 federal, state and local officials.
Mueller said the number of mortgage fraud cases investigated by his agency has increased from 700 to more than 2,000 in the last three years alone. Wrongdoing among public and elected officials remains one of the FBI’s top priorities, the director assured.
A Judicial Watch/Zogby poll released last fall revealed that an overwhelming number of Americans believe political corruption played a major role in the nation’s financial crisis. Nearly 70% of those surveyed said corruption is a significant problem in Washington D.C.
To be sure, the issue is undoubtedly bipartisan although Democrats and Republicans love to point fingers. The biggest public corruption scandal to rock Congress was masterminded by a Republican lobbyist (Jack Abramoff) who bribed lawmakers and their staff. A recent string of corruption scandals involving high-profile Democrats has also gained national attention.
They include the impeached Illinois governor criminally charged for operating a massive bribery scheme, a Pennsylvania congressman’s ties to a defense lobbying firm that exchanged campaign cash for federal earmarks and a New Mexico governor under grand jury investigation for getting an out-of-state political donor a lucrative state contract.
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