Corruption Doesn’t Hurt Legislators’ Support
NOVEMBER 05, 2008
Two prominent lawmakers representing opposite sides of the country pulled out reelection victories this week despite their involvement in major corruption scandals that received worldwide attention.
The first shocker was Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens because he has actually been convicted of seven felonies. Just a few weeks ago a federal jury in Washington D.C. found him guilty of hiding tens of thousands of dollars in gifts—including a major home renovation—from an oil company seeking lucrative government contracts and favorable legislation.
But that didn’t stop the nation’s longest serving senator, who has represented Alaska since 1968, from seeking reelection. Incredibly, he managed pull out a small victory in a tight race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. There’s still a chance that Stevens could face expulsion by the Senate Ethics Committee, however.
Then we have the veteran Louisiana representative, Democrat William Jefferson, caught with a $90,000 cash bribe stashed in his freezer. His support has not diminished even though he’s been indicted for accepting more than half a million dollars in bribes and demanding millions more. In fact, he appropriately earned the nickname “Dollar Bill.”
On Tuesday the disgraced lawmaker easily beat his opponent in the Democratic Party runoff and he’s expected to cruise to his 10th term in next month’s general election. A review of poll results revealed that Jefferson, the first African-American to represent Louisiana in Congress since Reconstruction, dominated in precincts with a high percentage of black voters and more than 60% of voters in the district are black.
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