Feature

Where stealing is but a minor sin

If you&rsquo;re a member of Congress, said Margaret Carlson in <em>Bloomberg.com,</em> which is worse: &ldquo;Being corrupt or being gay?&rdquo; If you answered being gay, you&rsquo;ve been attentive to recent cong

Margaret Carlson
Bloomberg.com

If you’re a member of Congress, said Margaret Carlson, which is worse: “Being corrupt or being gay?” If you answered being gay, you’ve been attentive to recent congressional scandals. Last week’s criminal indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, is a case in point. Republican leaders reacted to the charges that Stevens took $250,000 in home improvements from a major Alaskan oil company with no outrage and no demands that Stevens resign. Contrast that to the GOP’s response to discovering last year that Sen. Larry Craig had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after his “foot-tapping encounter” with an undercover cop in a men’s room. Craig’s Republican colleagues were openly disgusted, and strongly pressured him to resign. In Congress, sin has a hierarchy, and gay sex is clearly the worst. Getting caught with hookers or mistresses is “bad but not fatal.” Corruption? That’s a minor offense. You can even be caught with a bag of cash in your freezer, as Rep. William Jefferson was, and keep your seat.

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