Culture of corruption is a political slogan used by the United States Democratic Party to refer to a series of political scandals affecting the Republican Party during George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States. The phrase was originally coined by District Judge Frederick Motz while sentencing Maryland lobbyist Gerard E. Evans to 30 months jail for his part in a scheme in which he lobbied against non-existent legislative proposals to control lead-paint. The alleged co-conspirator, Democratic politician Tony Fulton, was found not guilty of 11 charges of fraud. As a slogan, it fits into a family of similar phrases in which political parties characterize themselves or their opponents of having a set of values inculcated at the cultural level (e.g. Culture of Life, Culture of Death).

The phrase was first used in connection with a national political scandal by Howard Dean in an attempt to link allegations of insider trading by Senator Bill Frist to the then-emerging Abramoff Scandal. Dean asserted that Republicans "have made their culture of corruption the norm".

Use by Democrats Edit

The phrase has since been repeated by other Democratic Party leaders, including Nancy Pelosi (responding to the indictment of Tom DeLay):

  • The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people.

The phrase has since been applied to link successive indictments and convictions of Republican politicians to the Republican party itself. These include:

  • Randy Cunningham, convicted of accepting $1.3 million in bribes.
  • Bob Ney, plead guilty to accepting bribes.
  • Tom DeLay, indicted on charges of money laundering.
  • Scooter Libby, convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to the FBI.
  • J. Steven Griles, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

Politicians that have not been indicted but commonly attacked as being part of "the culture of corruption" by Democrats include:

  • Mark Foley, resigned after a sex scandal involving a 16-year-old male page.
  • Bill Frist, reported to have maintained additional stock holdings outside of his blind trust, creating a conflict of interest.
  • Curt Weldon, being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of trading political influence for lobbying contracts for his daughter. Weldon did not resign, but in his 2006 re-election campaign, the Washington Post reported that the Republican Party had "all but abandoned" him.
  • Dennis Hastert, for allegedly trying to cover up warnings about inappropriate conduct by Mark Foley, and from taking contributions from Jack Abramoff to the tune of over $100,000.

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