REPUBLICROOK DU JOUR: J.D. HAYWORTH, CROOKED NUT JOB FROM ARIZONA
J.D. Hayworth rode the 1994 GOP reform wave into congress and represents Arizona's 5th CD, mostly Phoenix suburbs like Scottsdale and Tempe. Many Americans are familiar with him as a dependable far right extremist who is always called upon by neo-fascist propagandists like Hannity, O'Liely, Ingraham, Liddy, Scarborough when they need a reliable shill for whatever hideous right-wing bullshit is currently being "debated." He got a moment in the national spotlight a couple months ago when he told Don Imus that he didn't want the increasingly unpopular Bush to come to his district to campaign for him. On the issues that have come before the Congress, it would be difficult to find someone more consistently, across-the-board, knee-jerk right-wing than Hayworth.
But the reason Hayworth is back in the public eye today is not because he's a right wing extremist kook, but because he's a corrupt right wing extremist kook. Everyone knows he's long been awash in ill-gotten wealth distributed to loyal party hacks by Tom DeLay; no new news there. And it is no secret that he's accepted well over $100,000 from indicted Republican rainmaker Jack Abramoff and that he screamed like a stuck pig and absolutely refused when it was suggested he return the tainted money. Nor is it a new story that he partially flip-flopped on this and gave back $2,250 (out of at least $150,000).
But now it's coming out that Hayworth has been participating in a vile Republicrook game where "donations" are legally acquired by a politician's political action committee and then paid out in "consulting fees" to members of the politician's immediate family. This is a trick that many of the most corrupt Republicans use as a matter of course and it is a trick that has made people like Tom DeLay and Dick Pombo-- to single out two of the most corrupt players-- fabulously wealthy. Tom DeLay, Dick Pombo and J.D. Hayworth.
Hayworth used his T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) PAC to launder bribes from people like Abramoff and other favor-seekers to his personal accounts (via his wife) and to spread a little wealth around the Republican House caucus to, in the words of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC's ace political reporter Jon Kamman, "enhance his own prospects of winning a high leadership position."
In October, 2002 Kamman wrote that "the costs of operating the fund-raising PAC have reached $183,000, or more than has been distributed to candidates," the ostensible purpose of Hayworth's little racket. Phoenix's NEW TIMES was also looking into this budding scandal back in the fall of 2002 and also noticed an inordinate amount of what Hayworth was raking in, was being paid out to his wife. Monday, fellow blogger Rum, Romanticism and Rebellion pointed out that TEAM PAC's one employee, Mrs. Hayworth, has personally taken over $100,000 out of the operation, just slightly more than Jack Abramoff's generous contributions. (Remember, Hayworth gave back $2,250 but never gave back a cent of the $83,500 in bribes Abramoff paid TEAM PAC, most of which went right to the little wife.)
TUESDAY UPDATE: MORE BAD NEWS FOR J.D. HAYWORTH
The SurveyUSA poll done for Phoenix tv station KPNX shows major dissatisfaction with the corrupt extreme right-wing Arizona congressloon. 62% of those polled think Hayworth is a liar. And 67% feel his bribery problems will impact his re-election chances. Fingers crossed.