Every day, new names are added to the Republican Party’s roster of sleaze. The latest is Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. He stepped down as executive director of the CIA as federal agents searched his home and office in a probe of his ties to San Diego businessman Brent Wilkes. Wilkes, owner of a firm that does business with the Pentagon, is accused of bribing former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who served on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Cunningham, spouting clichés about “war on terror,” doled out contracts to Wilkes in exchange for a Rolls Royce, a yacht, and high-priced call girls.

A dozen more lawmakers may be exposed in the Cunningham scandal and in a similar scandal involving Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who swindled Indian casinos of $82 million. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, under indictment on charges stemming from ties to Abramoff, recently announced that he will not seek re-election.

The scandals extend well beyond the Washington Beltway.

Visit investigative reporter Wayne Madsen’s web site www.waynemadsenreport.com for an eye-popping chart. Madsen has compiled a “State-by-State GOP Scandal Scorecard” that lists scores of corrupt Republican politicians.

Ohio’s GOP Gov. Bob Taft pleaded guilty in a scandal involving misappropriation of Ohio workers compensation funds. Maryland’s Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich is another example. This darling of the Republican right appointed all but one of Maryland’s public service commissioners, every one of them linked to Baltimore Gas and Electric. Last month, the PSC approved BG&E’s request for a 72 percent rate hike, a swindle that will cost every ratepayer $750 or more in added gas and electric rates each year. The only “no” vote was the lone African American on the commission, appointed by Ehrlich’s Democratic predecessor. Ehrlich has received well over $100,000 in campaign contributions from BG&E over his years in Congress and the State House, and BG&E is pouring more money into his reelection campaign.

The sleaze factor looms large for the fall elections. If voters use their ballots as a broom, to sweep out these right-wing crooks out of office, it would be a good fall cleanup.

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