Flashback to January 4, 2007, when Nancy Pelosi gave her inaugural address as the new Speaker of the House:
“After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.”
At the close of business on Jan. 4, 2007, Pelosi’s first day as speaker, the national debt was $8,670,596,242,973.04 (8.67 trillion), according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. At the close of business on Oct. 22, it stood at $13,667,983,325,978.31 (13.67 trillion), an increase of 4,997,387,083,005.27 (or approximately $5 trillion).
This was, of course, the same speech that included her promise to drain the ethics swamp…
“In order to achieve our new America for the 21st century, we must return this House to the American people. So our first order of business is passing the toughest congressional ethics reform in history. This new Congress doesn’t have 2 years or 200 days. Let us join together in the first 100 hours to make this Congress the most honest and open Congress in history. 100 hours.”
But as her party defends its record with its majority in jeopardy, two prominent Democrats await ethics trials. Two other party members gave Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to relatives. Most importantly, lobbyists, corporations and special interests still have unimpeded ways to buy access to members of Congress.
Rangel, former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is charged with financial and fundraising misconduct, and has acknowledged some ethical lapses.
Waters, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, is contesting allegations that she sought federal aid for a bank where her husband is an investor.
Recent news reports also revealed that Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., awarded Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to relatives. The foundation has close ties to the Congressional Black Caucus, although it is run separately as a tax-exempt organization.
And last week former lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti, who helped defense clients secure government contracts, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than $380,000 in campaign contributions to House members controlling the Pentagon’s budget. Three top Democrats he worked with - Jim Moran of Virginia, Peter Visclosky of Indiana and the late John Murtha of Pennsylvania - directed $137 million in defense contracts to the lobbyist’s clients.