Fox News' Bret Baier reported that an AP article "list[ed] a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues." But Baier did not point out any Republican public officials currently "embroiled in ethical issues."
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During the February 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier asserted, "The Associated Press says Democrats are having a hard time doing business by the book," and cited an AP report from that day by staff writer Larry Margasak that Baier said, "list[ed] a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues." But Baier did not point out any Republican public officials currently "embroiled in ethical issues." As Media Matters for America documented, a number of elected Republican officials are under criminal investigation or are awaiting trial on criminal charges. And one Republican, former Sen. Ted Stevens (AK), was found guilty on felony charges in October 2008.
Moreover, as Baier noted, in the AP article, Margasak asserted that "[t]he Obama administration and the new Congress are rapidly giving Republicans the same 'culture of corruption' issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP before coming to power." While Margasak noted that in 2006, "[i]t was revealed that then-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., wrote suggestive notes to former teenage male pages, and several Republican lawmakers and officials failed to act when they learned of the situation," Margasak, like Baier, made no mention of Stevens or other Republican elected officials currently under indictment or investigation.
Examples of Republicans recently convicted, under indictment or under criminal investigation include:
- Stevens: On October 27, 2008, Stevens was found "guilty on seven felony counts, each with a maximum penalty of five years in prison," as The Washington Post reported. Stevens has asked that the jury's guilty verdict be overturned. The Washington Post reported that the next court hearing on Stevens case will occur in April.
- Alaska Rep. Don Young: According to a July 25, 2007, Wall Street Journal report, Young is "under criminal investigation" for whether he "accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., Alaska's largest oil-field engineering firm." As recently as January 11, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Young was "under federal investigation on corruption allegations," and that he "lost his senior committee leadership positions over the break." Additionally, the Anchorage Daily News reported on December 9, 2008: "Since the beginning of 2007, Young has spent more than $1 million in campaign contributions on legal fees related to a Justice Department probe -- which includes an investigation into fundraising."
- Former Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi: As Roll Call reported (subscription required) on December 8, 2008, Renzi "faces trial in March on corruption charges." Renzi was indicted February 22, 2008, "on charges of federal conspiracy, fraud, extortion and money laundering related to a land-swap deal in his home state," according to a December 7 Congressional Quarterly Weekly article (accessed in the Nexis news database). A January 14 AP article reported that Renzi pleaded not guilty.
- Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki: Krolicki was indicted December 3, 2008, by a grand jury "on four counts of misappropriation and falsification of public records," The Hill reported.
From the February 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
BAIER: And now, some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine: The Associated Press says Democrats are having a hard time doing business by the book. An analysis piece is titled, "Democrats self-destructing over ethics."
Reporter Larry Margasak writes, quote, "The Obama administration and new Congress are quickly handing over to the Republicans the same 'culture of corruption' issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP. ... Freshman Senator Roland Burris is only the latest embarrassment."
Margasak lists a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues including House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. He also highlights the tax problems of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Daschle.