Republicans calculate -- probably correctly -- that nobody cares about Washington corruption scandals and they can do whatever the hell they want:
DeLay Lands Coveted Appropriations Spot
Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House, scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee.
DeLay, R-Texas, also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers. The subcommittee also has responsibility over NASA a top priority for DeLay, since the Johnson Space Center is located in his Houston-area district.
"Allowing Tom DeLay to sit on a committee in charge of giving out money is like putting Michael Brown back in charge of FEMA Republicans in Congress just can't seem to resist standing by their man," said Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee....
Oh, by the way, DeLay is filling "Duke" Cunningham's vacancy.
Meanwhile, as The New York Times notes, Congressional Republicans are resisting earmark reform (threatening to embarrass colleagues who've seen the light on reform by exposing the earmerks they've sought in the past) as well as bans on gifts and travel paid for by lobbyists; many don't even want an independent commission to study this stuff. Jack Abramoff? It looks as if they want us to think that the big problem with Abramoff was the lack of limits on gifts from Indian tribes -- close that loophole and we're basically done.
Well, nobody cares. Average Americans think "everybody does it" -- and, again, Democrats never framed the issue properly. The press, again, snickered at Democrats who were angry.
This is over. "The Republican culture of corruption" is as dead as Enron as a political issue.