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Congress's Top Knaves

What exactly must a lawmaker do to distinguish himself as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress? The mind reels.

Helpfully, the goo-goos over at CREW have read the reports, crunched the numbers, categorized the sleaze, and laid it all out for us in their 5th annual survey of the many and varied ways in which political power is abused in this town.

Offenses range from soliciting employees for campaign contributions to abusing earmarks to banging staffers. Some top sinners have already emerged as national punchlines (Rangel, Burris, Ensign...), while others as yet remain largely unknown outside their district (Buchanan, Deal, Viscolsky...).

On a somewhat personal note, I was pleased to see that not one but two female legislators made this year's list. I'd hate to think the ladies of the Hill are too meek to take their shot at the American Dream.

For those wondering if their rep made the cut, the full dishonor roll for 2009 runs, alphabetically:

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)

Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL)

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA)

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Be sure to email these outstanding public servants your hearty congratulations on managing to rise above the pack like this.