I've noticed the ongoing campaign to excuse the richest 1% for their incredible greed and concentration of wealth. I've noticed the more recent effort to divert our attention instead, to a tiny minority of multi-billionaires. Finally, I've become aware of the ABSURD claim that the rich and corrupt are motivated by a lust for 'power', not money. This claim is often made in an attempt to vilify Democrats in particular. As if their ultimate goal is to 'control the masses'.
Below is a complete list of Federal politicians, judges, and staff members convicted of 'on the job' corruption going back over 100 years. As you can see, the vast majority have been inspired directly by a desire to get or stay rich. Of the examples that remain, a desire to get or stay in paid office is indicated more often than not. Lies have been told (often in relation to financial matters), evidence has been withheld (often in relation to financial matters), and a few motives remain unclear (some of which certainly pertain to financial matters) but none of the criminal acts listed below were inspired by anything remotely resembling a desire to 'control the masses'. Unless of course, you consider sexual harassment of two employees such an attempt.
The pattern of financially motivated corruption has applied to both major political parties going back over 100 years. It shows that Democrats and Republicans alike, are inspired almost exclusively by a desire to get rich. Not by a desire to 'control the masses'. Not by a lust for 'power'.
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) pleaded guilty on February 20, 2013 to one count of wire and mail fraud in connection with his misuse of $750,000 of campaign funds.
Rick Renzi (R-AZ) on June 12, 2013 was found guilty of 17 of the 32 counts against him, including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators.
Samuel B. Kent (R) The Federal District Judge of Galveston, Texas was sentenced on May 11, 2009, to 33 months in prison for having lied about sexually harassing two female employees.
Thomas Porteous (D) The Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana was impeached, convicted and removed from office on December 8, 2010 on charges of bribery and lying to Congress.
William J. Jefferson (D-LA) in August 2005 the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson's home freezer. He was convicted of 11 counts of bribery in 2009. Jefferson's Chief of Staff Brett Pfeffer, was also convicted of bribery.
Jack Abramoff CNMI scandal involves the efforts of Abramoff to influence Congressional action concerning U.S. immigration and minimum wage laws. Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements as a result of his receiving trips from Jack Abramoff in exchange for legislative favors.
Duke Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty on November 28, 2005 to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion in what came to be called the Cunningham scandal.
Frank Ballance (D-NC) admitted to federal charges of money laundering and mail fraud in October 2005.
Jim Traficant (D-OH) found guilty on 10 felony counts of financial corruption.
Mel Reynolds (D-IL) was convicted in 1999 of 12 counts of bank fraud.
Walter R. Tucker III (D-CA) was convicted of extortion and tax evasion.
Wes Cooley (R-OR), Cooley was convicted of having lied on the 1994 voter information pamphlet about his service in the Army.
Austin Murphy (D-PA) convicted of one count of voter fraud for filling out absentee ballots for members of a nursing home.
House banking scandal: The House of Representatives Bank found that 450 members had overdrawn their checking accounts, but not been penalized. Six were convicted of charges, most only tangentially related to the House Bank itself. Twenty two more of the most prolific over-drafters were singled out by the House Ethics Committee.
Buz Lukens (R-Ohio) convicted of bribery and conspiracy.
Carl C. Perkins (D-Kentucky) pleaded guilty to a check kiting scheme involving several financial institutions (including the House Bank).
Carroll Hubbard (D-Kentucky) convicted of illegally funneling money to his wife's 1992 campaign to succeed him in congress.
Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge not related to the House Bank.
Walter Fauntroy (D-District of Columbia) convicted of filing false disclosure forms in order to hide unauthorized income.
Congressional Post Office scandal (1991--1995), A conspiracy to embezzle House Post Office money through stamps and postal vouchers to congressmen: Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) Rostenkowski was convicted.
Joe Kolter (D-Pennsylvania) Convicted of one count of conspiracy.
Jay Kim (R-CA) accepted $250,000 in illegal 1992 campaign contributions.
Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, (R) Treasurer of the United States. Convicted of obstruction of justice and tax evasion.
Nicholas Mavroules (D-Massachusetts) convicted of extortion, accepting illegal gifts and failing to report them on congressional disclosure and income tax forms.
Albert Bustamante (D-Texas) convicted of accepting bribes.
David Durenberger Senator (R-Minnesota) denounced by Senate for unethical financial transactions and then disbarred. Convicted of misuse of public funds.
Robert Frederick Collins (D) Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Convicted of Bribery.
Walter Nixon (D) US Judge (Mississippi) (appointed by Lyndon Johnson in 1968) Was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for perjury.
Housing and Urban Development Scandal A controversy concerning bribery by selected contractors for low income housing projects.
James G. Watt (R) United States Secretary of the Interior, 1981--1983, convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Deborah Gore Dean, (R) Executive Assistant to (Samuel Pierce, Secretary of HUD 1981--1987, and not charged). Dean was convicted of 12 counts of perjury, conspiracy, bribery.
Phillip D. Winn (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, 1981--1982, pleaded guilty to bribery in 1994.
Thomas Demery, (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, convicted of bribery and obstruction.
Joseph A. Strauss, (R) Special Assistant to the Secretary of HUD, convicted for accepting payments to favor Puerto Rican land developers in receiving HUD funding.
Wedtech scandal Wedtech Corporation convicted of bribery for Defense Department contracts.
Mario Biaggi (D-New York), convicted of accepting bribes.
Robert Garcia (D-New York), convicted of accepting bribes.
Iran-Contra Affair (1985--1986); A secret sale of arms to Iran, to secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, in violation of the Boland Amendment.
Caspar Weinberger (R) United States Secretary of Defense, was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992.
Robert C. McFarlane (R) National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence.
John Poindexter (R) National Security Advisor, was convicted on April 7, 1990 for his role in the Iran-Contra Affair.
Oliver North (R) Member of the National Security Council, was fired by President Reagan on the same day Poindexter resigned. North was found guilty of perjury and conspiracy.
Elliott Abrams (R) Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, convicted of withholding evidence.
Michael Deaver (R) White House Deputy Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan 1981--85, convicted of perjury related to lobbying activities.
Sewergate A scandal in which funds from the EPA were selectively used for projects which would aid politicians friendly to the Reagan administration.
Rita Lavelle (R), assistant EPA Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency misused 'superfund' monies and was convicted of perjury.
Donald E. "Buz" Lukens (R-Ohio), Convicted of two counts of bribery and conspiracy.
Abscam FBI sting involving fake 'Arabs' trying to bribe 31 congressmen. The following Congressmen were convicted:
Harrison A. Williams Senator (D-New Jersey), Convicted on 9 counts of bribery and conspiracy.
John Jenrette Representative (D-South Carolina) Convicted of bribery and conspiracy.
Richard Kelly (R-Florida) Accepted $25K and then claimed he was conducting his own investigation into corruption. Convicted.
Raymond Lederer (D-Pennsylvania), "I can give you me" he said after accepting $50K. Convicted.
Michael Myers (D-Pennsylvania) Accepted $50K saying, "...money talks and bullshit walks." Convicted.
Frank Thompson (D-New Jersey), convicted of bribery.
John M. Murphy (D-New York), convicted of bribery.
Mario Biaggi (D-New York), Convicted of obstruction of justice and accepting illegal gratuities for his role in the Wedtech scandal, Just before expulsion from the House, he resigned. The next year he was convicted of another 15 counts of obstruction and bribery.
Pat Swindall (R-Georgia) convicted of 6 counts of perjury.
George V. Hansen (R-Idaho) censured for failing to file out disclosure forms.
Frederick W. Richmond (D-New York),Convicted of tax evasion.
Dan Flood (D-Pennsylvania) censured for bribery. Convicted.
Joshua Eilberg (D-Pennsylvania), convicted of conflict-of-interest charges.
Alcee Hastings (D-Florida), Federal District court judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate of soliciting a bribe.
Harry Claiborne (D-Nebraska), Federal District court Judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate on two counts of tax evasion.
Fred Richmond (D-New York) -- Convicted of tax fraud.
Charles Diggs (D-Michigan), convicted on 29 charges of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms which formed a kickback scheme with his staff.
Frank M. Clark (D-Pennsylvania), convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion on June 12, 1979.
Koreagate scandal involving alleged bribery of more than 30 members of Congress by the South Korean government represented by Tongsun Park.
Richard Tonry (D-Louisiana), convicted of receiving illegal campaign contributions.
James F. Hastings (R-New York), convicted of kickbacks and mail fraud, he also took money from his employees for personal use.
John V. Dowdy (D-Texas), Allegedly tried to stop a federal investigation of a construction firm. Convicted of perjury.
Bertram Podell (D-New York), convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest.
Frank Brasco (D-New York) Sentenced to three months in jail and fined $10,000 for conspiracy to accept bribes from a reputed Mafia figure who sought truck leasing contracts from the Post Office and loans to buy trucks.
Richard T. Hanna (D-CA), convicted in an influence-buying scandal in 1974.
Watergate (1972--1973) Republican 'bugging' of the Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel led to a burglary which was discovered. The cover up of the affair by President Richard Nixon (R) and his staff resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 pleading guilty, including 7 for actual burglary. Eventually, Nixon resigned his position.
John N. Mitchell (R) former Attorney General, convicted of perjury.
Frederick C. LaRue (R) Advisor to John Mitchell, convicted of obstruction of justice.
Richard Kleindienst (R) Attorney General, found guilty of "refusing to answer questions".
H. R. Haldeman (R) Chief of Staff for Nixon, convicted of perjury.
John Ehrlichman (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of perjury.
Egil Krogh (R) Aide to John Ehrlichman, convicted of perjury.
John W. Dean III (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice.
Dwight L. Chapin (R) Deputy Assistant to Nixon, convicted of perjury.
Charles W. Colson (R) Special Consul to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice.
Cornelius Gallagher (D-New Jersey) convicted of tax evasion.
J. Irving Whalley (R-Pennsylvania), convicted in 1973 for using mails to deposit staff salary kickbacks and threatening an employee to prevent her from giving information to the FBI.
Martin B. McKneally (R-New York), convicted in 1971 for failing to file income tax return.
New York US Representative James Fred Hastings (R-NY) was a delegate to the 1968 Republican National Convention and the 1972 Republican National Convention. He was elected to Congress in 1968 and served from January 3, 1969, until he resigned on January 20, 1976 after being convicted of kickbacks and mail fraud.
Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) Senator convicted of accepting " an unlawful gratuity without corrupt intent ".
Frank W. Boykin Congressman (D-AL) was convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest in July 1963.
Thomas F. Johnson (D-Maryland) was convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest regarding the receipt of illegal gratuities.
Frank Boykin (D-Alabama) was convicted in a case involving a conflict of interest and conspiracy to defraud the government.
Thomas J. Lane (D-Massachusetts) convicted for evading taxes on his congressional income.
Ernest K. Bramblett (R-California), convicted of making false statements in connection with payroll padding and kickbacks from congressional employees.
Walter E. Brehm (R-Ohio) convicted of accepting contributions illegally from one of his employees.
J. Parnell Thomas (R-New Jersey): a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), was convicted of salary fraud.
Andrew J. May (D-Kentucky) Convicted of accepting bribes in 1947 from a war munitions manufacturer.
James M. Curley (D-Massachusetts), convicted of fraud.
John H. Hoeppel (D-CA) convicted in 1936 of selling an appointment to the West Point Military Academy.
Harry E. Rowbottom, (R-IN) was convicted in Federal court of accepting bribes from persons who sought post office appointments.
George English (D) U.S. District Judge of Illinois, impeached for taking an interest-free loan from a bank of which he was director.
The Harding administration was marred by scandals stemming from his appointment of men in his administration whom he had known in Ohio. They came to be known as the Ohio Gang. They include;
Albert Fall (R) Secretary of the Interior who was bribed by Harry F. Sinclair for control of the Teapot Dome federal oil reserves in Wyoming.
Charles R. Forbes (R) appointed by Harding as the first director of the new Bureau of Veterans Affairs. After constructing and modernizing VA hospitals, he was convicted of bribery and corruption.
Thomas W. Miller (R), Head of the Office of Alien Property: convicted of fraud by selling valuable German patents seized after World War I for far below market price as well as bribery.
There you go. Over 100 years worth of convictions. The vast majority of which indicate that corrupt politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, are inspired almost exclusively by a desire to get rich. Rarely by anything but. Almost never by anything remotely resembling a desire to 'control the masses' or by a lust for 'power'.
Of course, the ongoing campaign to divert our attention from the evil of wealth concentration to the lust for power will continue. Not that I deny the corrupt influence of power or the harm that has been done by those who wield too much. But the single greatest force of government, business, and societal corruption is the desire for extreme personal wealth. Not the lust for 'power'. Any claim to the contrary is absurd.