An Interview With Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan, Authors of “Caucus of Corruption”
I did an email interview with Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan, Authors of Caucus of Corruption: The Truth about the New Democratic Majority. Enjoy!
John Hawkins: Last year, the Republican Party was rocked by the Mark Foley congressional page scandal. Can you give us some examples of Democratic sex scandals and compare them?
Matt Margolis: The Mark Foley scandal, as bad as it was (we’re certainly glad he’s gone) doesn’t even hold a candle to various sex scandals that have happened to Democrats, and the response to them is also quite different, as we detail in Caucus of Corruption.
For instance, in the 1980’s, Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) was revealed to have had a sexual affair with a male congressional page. At the same time, Rep. Dan Crane (R-IL) was revealed to have had an affair with a female congressional page. Both decided to let the voters of their districts decide their fates. Crane, the Republican, was voted out. Studds, the Democrat, was reelected, and would be reelected 6 more times until his retirement. Another Massachusetts Democrat, Barney Frank, was caught up in a sex scandal of his own, and he still serves today as Chairman of the House Finance Services Committee.
Mark Noonan: Another example would be former congressman Mel Reynolds (D-IL) who was indicted on child pornography and rape charges in August 1994, and reelected that November with 98% of the vote. He was later convicted on those charges, and on separate charges a couple years later, only to be pardoned by President Bill Clinton just before he left office.
Matt Margolis: The big difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to accusations of sexual misconduct is that Republicans don’t tolerate such deviancy in the party. Democrats think only about their power, endlessly defend their accused, and continue to hold them in high regard. Sadly, the examples we cited are just a couple of many.
John Hawkins: Tell us a little bit about Jack Abramoff and the Democratic Party.
Mark Noonan: First, it is true that Jack Abramoff is a Republican, as the Democrats were quick to point out, over and over and over and over again, (and we certainly don’t deny this or hide it in the book) but he was also a lobbyist working on behalf of his clients.
The plain fact of the matter is that Abramoff, like nearly all lobbyists, played both sides of the street. He had to; it was his job. He was hired by people and groups to represent them before government, not just the Republican Party.
The facts we compiled in the book are indisputable: there are plenty of Democrats who not only received donations from Abramoff’s tribal clients (at his urging) but also took actions favorable to Abramoff’s clients in exchange for such donations. There are also a few senators who held fundraisers in Jack Abramoff’s skybox at the Washington MCI Center, and some who took trips paid for and/or attended by Abramoff. Even our new Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is one of the top beneficiaries of Abramoff-orchestrated donations, receiving nearly $70,000 in such donations from Indian tribes only after they became Abramoff’s clients.
John Hawkins: Tell us a little bit about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Democratic leaders in Congress. Has either of them been involved in any shady dealings?
Matt Margolis: Aside from the more recent stories we’ve heard about Nancy’s conflicts of interest involving earmarks and the minimum wage, the most disturbing thing about Nancy Pelosi is her climb to the top.
During the 2002 election cycle, Nancy, in preparation for her forthcoming leadership bid in the House, ran two political action committees, raising money with each and donating that money to Democratic candidates. The only problem is that it is illegal to run two PACs. By running two PACs, Nancy Pelosi was circumventing limits on campaign contributions, essentially allowing her to donate double the cash as she could legally.
It wasn’t until 2004 that the FEC ruled that her second PAC was illegal and ordered her to pay a fine, and the candidate return over $100,000 in contributions that had been donated to them illegally. But, by 2004, the damage had been done. She had already bought the loyalty she needed to win her leadership bid comfortably Which ultimately became the stepping stone for her to become Speaker of the House.
Mark Noonan: Harry Reid, in addition to his clear connections to Abramoff that I mentioned earlier, has so far avoided any serious scrutiny for a series of shady land deals involving properties in Nevada and Arizona that have helped increase his personal wealth substantially.
John Hawkins: Do you think there’s a double standard on corruption issues for Republicans and Democrats? If so, can you give us a couple of examples?
Matt Margolis: We don’t think there is, we know there is.
First, let me explain something, while some people might assume otherwise, you won’t see us blindly defending corrupt Republicans in Caucus of Corruption. As far as we’re concerned, the Republican Party benefits when its corrupt members are let go. Unfortunately, liberal bloggers and many supporters of the Democratic Party don’t feel the same way when it comes to corruption in their party. They make excuses for it or just ignore it for the sake of their own power.
It’s ridiculous to pretend that your own party is sinless while demanding accountability on the other side.
Mark Noonan: Just look at the earlier example of what happened to Democrat Gerry Studds compared to Republican Daniel Crane. Both had affairs with underage congressional pages. Both let the voters of their districts decide their fates. Only one was reelected: The Democrat.
Certainly, there is a double standard. More accurately, there is a standard of behavior expected of Republicans, while no standard is applied to Democrats.
William Jefferson (D-LA) is still an honored member of the Democratic caucus even though two people have pled guilty to bribing him and after the FBI found $90,000 of the bribe in his fridge—meanwhile, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (D-TX) is out of office due to a bogus, politically inspired indictment.
John Hawkins: In the chapter of your book called, “Botched Jokes,” you say the Democrats have a, “thirty-five-year-old contempt for the United States military and all it stands for.” Tell us a little about why you say that.
Mark Noonan: The contempt we speak of manifests itself in various ways. In the cynical way the left hid behind Murtha’s “war hero” status in order to launch accusations of war crimes against our troops; in the way the Democrats—for the narrowest of partisan purposes—will say that our troops, who are still in a hot fight, have already lost; in the way Pelosi had to lard up the now-defunct “Iraq Surrender Bill” with pork to get it to pass (Democrats have to be bribed to surrender, it would seem); in the way Democrats touted the large number of Iraq veterans running as Democrats in 2006, but who didn’t get any support from the national Democratic party. For the Democrats, the military is a prop; when they want to placate the left’s anti-Americanism, they will launch an accusation of war crimes against our troops — when they want to appeal to patriotic Americans, they’ll put up bogus candidacies by veterans. The flesh and blood men and women of our armed forces don’t matter at all to the Democrats.
And, of course, the military is also a source of pork for the Democrats—even anti-war leftists like Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) saw no problem with securing military construction projects for companies controlled by her husband. It was a “hey, I’m anti-war and all, but a buck is a buck” on the part of Feinstein. And she’s not alone in this sort of activity.
When John Kerry did his “botched joke”, that wasn’t some aberration. No, that was really what he thought. Kerry and his people tried to get the MSM to go along with claiming it was a just a joke gone bad, but anyone who actually listened to the audio clip could tell that Kerry was just stating what he thought was a truth—only intellectual failures get “stuck” in Iraq.
What disgusted me, as a veteran, is that Democrats were doing all this in a war. Couldn’t they have the minimal decency to keep their mouths shut, if they couldn’t say anything positive? No—there was, in their view, partisan advantage to be gained by denigrating the military, and so they did it—and continue to do it; and will keep on doing it as long as we let them.
John Hawkins: Who are some of the most corrupt Democrats in Congress? Can you explain why?
Matt Margolis: There’s no formula from which we can determine who is the most corrupt. The unfortunate reality is we can look at the leaders of the Democratic Party and find they’re all tainted by corruption in one way or another. Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer all got elected or gained power by corrupt means. Harry Reid has used his position to financially benefit himself and his family. In the Democratic Party, you can murder, rape, or accept bribes and still get reelected year after year. Until the Democratic Party finally starts leading by example and does a massive purge of its tainted leaders and members, I have no qualms about saying that the Democratic Party as a whole is corrupt.
Mark Noonan: This is a party that runs against corruption while totally ignoring and excuse the corruption in their own ranks. The leaders of the party have to do something about it, but since they are part of the corruption, you can guarantee that accountability on the Democratic side of the aisle won’t be happening.