Watchdog group names names of the most ethically-challenged members of the House and Senate.
Pennsylvania has two of the 24 most corrupt members of Congress, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Representing Pennsylvania on the list are Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat, and Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican.
Murtha, an 18-term member of Congress, represents the 12th Congressional District in western Pennsylvania. He rose to prominence in 2006 as the foaming-at-the-mouth, anti-Iraq War spokesman, but Murtha has a long and checkered history involving ethics violations, deals with lobbyists and pork spending. Murtha is a repeat offender from the 2006 list of most corrupt members of Congress.
Murphy is a third-term member of Congress, representing the 18th Congressional District, also in western Pennsylvania. "Rep. Murphy's ethics violations involve his misuse of official resources for political campaign activity," according to the watchdog group. Murphy currently is the target of a Department of Justice investigation, the group states.
The full report, "Beyond DeLay: The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and two to watch)" is available at the group's Web site, http://www.beyonddelay.org/
This is the third annual report released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington documenting "the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress."
Somehow, I get the feeling the group could have come up with more than just 24 corrupt members of Congress. Sixteen members of this year's most corrupt list have been replaced from last year's list of 25. And yes, Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-LA), the man found with $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer, did make the list.
California leads the way with five members of its Congressional delegation on the most corrupt list. Other states with more than one include New Mexico and Alaska, each with three and Louisiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, each with two.
Alaska has the dubious distinction of having both of its U.S. Senators -- Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski -- on the most corrupt list. That's pretty bad considering that only four members of the Senate made the list.
Twenty of the 24 members of Congress on the list are Republicans. Maybe Nancy Pelosi was right about "draining the swamp," but that doesn't explain why Murtha is such an influential member of the Democratic caucus.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington compiles its list based on "members' transgressions," analyzing them in light of federal laws and Congressional rules, according to the Web site.
The Web site offers short summaries of each member's transgressions as well as the full-length profiles and all accompanying exhibits.
Pennsylvania residents will have an opportunity to remove Murtha and Murphy from Congress next year. All 435 members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for re-election in 2008.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas