September 19, 2011

CREW Names the 14 Most Corrupt Members of Congress; Five More Earn Dishonorable Mentions

CREW's Most Corrupt 2011 CoverWashington, D.C. – From lying on financial disclosure forms to receiving improper gifts to unreported conflicts of interest, it has been a busy year for lousy lawmakers. Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report, which takes a bipartisan look at Washington’s worst.  Fourteen members were named to the list, while five more garnered dishonorable mentions.  A startling 14 of the 19 members on CREW’s list are new to it this year, and six are also new to Congress. Click here to read the full report.

Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low, and one look at this collection of Washington’s worst shows why,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “Neither political party has a monopoly on shady conduct. In fact, it’s the only thing that seems bipartisan these days.”

Although CREW assigns no ranking system to the list, several members’ actions are particularly egregious.  Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) is under investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) has refused to pay over $100,000 in child support. Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), a serial offender, again made the list for using taxpayer money to help a staffer tend to criminal court matters and for trying to bribe Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. 

On the Democratic side, the FBI seems to be looking at Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) for accepting gifts from campaign donors.  Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) made the list for letting his lobbyist sister trade on his name – perhaps even allowing her to maintain a mailbox in his office - and for using congressional stationary to influence a judge about to sentence his son.

“The American people deserve a Congress devoid of criminals and scoundrels,” said Ms. Sloan.  “These bad apples tarnish the reputations of the hundreds of other devoted public servants in both parties who are working hard to fix our nation’s ills and make our country stronger.” 

This is the 7th edition of the CREW’S Most Corrupt Report, an annual look at a bipartisan collection of Washington’s worst.  This year’s list includes seven Democrats, and 12 Republicans.  Five are repeat offenders.  Since 2005, CREW has named 70 members of Congress to the list, 32 of whom are no longer in office.  


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or

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