13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress

This study claims that these thirteen members of congress are the MOST corrupt.

  • Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA)
  • Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
  • Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
  • Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
  • Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
  • Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
  • Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  • Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
  • Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
  • Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Now, I haven’t bothered to read it because I am certain that I wouldn’t really understand how to dissect their methodology. So I would like to see what people have to say about this and then I’ll go in and read it keeping a few of those comments in mind.


Quite a coincidence that 11 out of the 13 are Republican. sigh How could the Republicans become corrupt so soon. It took 4 decades for congressional democrats to become rife with corruption.

I looked over the list at first, and didn’t see Charles Taylor, and I thought, “Hey, where’s my Congressman?”

Then I looked more carefully. There he is! Yay!

I love being from a county whose name is, literally, synonymous with bullshit.


Ok, just to be clear now, you’re posting a link to something you haven’t read, in order to get a reaction. Good luck with that.

I still have to go with Barbara Boxer (D-CA). She was one of the worst violators of the House check kiting scandel yet still managed to become a Senator. I would also suspect Sen. Brownback (R-KS) is highly corrupt. If not corrupt, he is certainly nuts. The idea of President Brownback in '08 is scary even for me - a Republican.

Calling Randy Cunningham corrupt is absurb. He is one of the most honest of the public servants (and no, he is not my Congressman).

I suspect the methodology was “How can I manipulate numbers to make the Republicans look corrupt?”.

From the report:

They go on to describe Cunningham renting yacht moorage space from Wade at over 30% less than current market rates (that’s a very ballpark figure; it’d probably be significantly less if i could be arsed to do the math), and receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wade and his company in campaign contributions.

If this is one of the most honest of public servants, I’ve failed Lily Tomlin once again.


This better be a whoosh; otw, I have to say you are being misinformed or uninformed.

Completely empirical. I pulled up 6 at random and you’ll see the range of seriousness of the violations.
Feeney’s violations: 3 free trips
One of Cunningham’s violations: Putting the Congressional Seal on products he sells.
Waters’ major violation: Selling her influence on sample ballots. Actually her daughter did this and it is assumed with Rep. Waters’ blessing.
Jefferson’s violation: Stealing money from investors
Blount’s violation: Some minor ones but there are two major improprieties dealing with Phillip-Morris and channeling campaign funds to his son
Ney’s violation: Minor but his insertion of material into the Congressional Record at the request of a friend to help with a business venture is unnerving.

Basically, a majority of the accusations were about buying votes, i.e. an entity makes a campaign contribution and the Congressmen helps them out with legislation. The other major accusation was free trips from lobbyists. There was simply no quantitative data to back up that these 15 were the worst, just a collection of anecdotes. Are they claiming that these 15 are the only ones that do this?

And franking priviledges are only for official business and cannot be used for personal/reelection purposes, yet I get mail from mine all the time that is 99% why you should re-elect me and 1% official business.

I’m willing to change my opinion on Cunningham. I originally based it on a report a few years ago listing him among the top in integrity (along with Glenn and McClain) and was used to show that veterans tend to take public service very seriously and tend to be more honest as politicians. The seal issue is relatively minor (for me) as a violation. It could have been an “Ooops” or he just thought it was too minor to worry about (like franking abuse). In the grand scheme of life, there are a lot more abuses of power than that in Congress.

But even granting the other things that is reported about Cunningham (it’s interesting that property prices went down in the middle of California’s economic crisis), Sen. Brownback basically has his rent paid for by a Christian group. So fine - all 13 have done corrupt things, but I still find it hard to believe that these are the WORST 13.

Respectfully, SaintCad, you are correct to back off that (sub)claim.

Cunningham is embroiled in a scandal at the moment, and has even dropped his re-election bid.

Here’s the latest back and forth. Apparently, he claims that he was only overpaid $300,000 for his home by defense contractor Wade, so that’s all the government should be able to sieze:

Here’s a private website that gives a run-down of how Cunningham’s various houses, boats, pay-offs, sweatheart loans, and insider defense contracts fit together. Don’t forget to click the [?] and [$] boxes:

This list appears to be partisan sniping. An honest list of corrupt bastards would include Jim Moran, my old congressman when I lived in Arlington. Yet he is mysteriously missing here.

My honest Democratic friends on this board would likely agree with me on that one.

Since the list doesn’t include him, it isn’t an honest list. I’m therefore just going to ignore it as a list. If you have complaints about individual members of Congress, I’ll be happy to evaluate them individually.

Why’s that?

. . . I’m rather disappointed to see only one Floridian’s name on that list. Dammit, we have a reputation to defend!

I think this is a reasonable response. Trying to determine that Senator X is more corrupt than Congresswoman Y is just too subjective. Further, why the top 13? Why not the top 10, 25, or some other obvious number?

Better to treat indivicual instnaces of corruption individually.

How about the top 535?

Yes, I know that there are some upright politicans. But if you go digging, I’m sure you can find something about every single one that might not be completely 100% unquestionably legal.

According to the Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Moran:

So there’s something to it, maybe – but if that’s all, comparing Moran’s crimes & misdemeanors to those of the congresscritters listed in the OP, he doesn’t even rate a Dishonorable Mention. Got anything meatier, Moto?

Probably just the humor of it.

He seems like a lousy human being, but I’m not sure he’s one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

Yeah–getting a large loan from a credit card company doesn’t set off my suspicions the same way getting cheap yacht space and an excellent price on a home sale from a defense contractor does. I’m sure there are corrupt democrats, and it’s possible that Moran is one, but not from any evidence offered so far.

Y’all should check out Chucky T!


Tom DeLay (R-Undead) isn’t on the list?

Not on the list on BeyondDelay.com? I guess he could be, but that’d be kinda silly.