A Top 20 List Members of Congress Want to Avoid

Photograph by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Rep. Vern Buchanan arrives for the last vote in the House before the two-week Easter recess in this March 29, 2012 file photo.

Twenty lawmakers made a list they undoubtedly hope their constituents will miss:  2012’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a Washington-based advocacy group, released the annual list today which includes large black and white photo’s, akin to mug shots, of this year’s 12 most corrupt politicians and a list of eight others who won “dishonorable mentions.”

Those partaking in bipartisan misdeeds include seven Democrats and 13 Republicans. They range from Representative Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, who forced her staff to work on her campaigns — a big no, no — to Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, who said he would block a raise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unless he issued more deepwater drilling permits.

“It is hardly surprising Americans’ contempt for Congress is at an all-time high,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan in an e-mailed statement to the press announcing the list.  “While voters have grown weary of seemingly endless ethical scandals, both the House and Senate remain loath to crack down on their members’ misconduct.”

The lawmakers aren’t ranked according to the most egregious violators but the press release makes clear that Rep. Vern Buchanan,a Florida Republican, is at the top of the list. He’s been on it four times after all.  His misdeeds according to CREW:  trying to bribe a business partner to help him cover up illegal reimbursements to employees of his car dealerships who donated to his campaign.

CREW said that since 2005 they’ve named 81 lawmakers to the list. Thirty-two of them are no longer in Congress.

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