Laura Richardson was first elected to Congress four years ago, yet the Long Beach Democrat is already considered one of the House's most corrupt members.
That's the opinion of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington (CREW), whose seventh annual edition of CREW'S Most Corrupt report just came out.
Richardson is among seven Democrats singled out by CREW, but in case you think this is a partisan attack list, don't: the collection also outs among the most corrupt 12 Republicans.
Five are repeat offenders. Some kids never learn.
Richardson gets the nod for emails that came to light earlier this year revealing she has been “an ogre of a boss who illegally forced
congressional staff to work on her campaigns, run her personal errands
and perform campaign functions using federal resources,” according to CREW's full report on the congresswoman.
These staffers were required to attend a fundraiser for Richardson's 2010 reelection campaign dubbed “Democratic Idol,” wear staff shirts embroidered with the phrase “37th Congressional
District” and bring their spouses and interns along with them to the event–if they knew what was good for them.
In violation of federal law, CREW alleges, congressional staffers were forced under threat of termination to work after hours and weekends on Richardson's campaign. The law was also violated when these staffers were forced to perform personal services like picking up the congresswoman's dry cleaning.
“Rep. Richardson violated the law which
requires government funds to be used only for official purposes,” according to the CREW report.
“Additionally, by certifying that staffers were paid only for work done
for official purposes when she submitted payroll forms, Rep. Richardson
appears to have made false statements to Congress.”
The watchdog has asked the FBI to investigate Richardson because “[s]omeone somewhere needs
to hold this woman accountable for her actions.”
“In just three terms, Rep. Richardson has run roughshod over staff
and federal law,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan says in a press release. “She has
been the subject of at least two ethics investigations, could find
herself facing criminal charges, and is certainly one of the Most
Corrupt Members of Congress.”
Richardson would be wise to take CREW' seriously. Since 2005, the group has outed 70 members of Congress for corruption, 32 of whom are no longer in office.