The current Bush administration has been the worst administration in the history of this country, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) told a crowd of about 35 people Monday, April 24 at Forest Edge Elementary School.
The eight-term congressman spoke out against corruption in the White House, efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and the influence of lobbyists during an event sponsored by the American Association of University Women Reston-Herndon branch.
MORAN CALLED the Bush administration the "most corrupt" of any in history, that he’s aware. "In terms of sophistication of the corruption, I’ve never seen a more corrupt administration," said Moran, citing whistleblowers throughout the federal bureaucracy who have been punished for leaking "accurate" information.
"There is far more interest in punishing the people who have leaked information than addressing the illegal activity that has been disclosed," said Moran, referring to outed CIA agent Valerie Plame and CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy. Columnist Robert Novak exposed Plame’s identity, which ignited an independent investigation that has already sent one reporter to jail and brought a White House official under indictment. McCarthy was fired for leaking classified information.
"This administration is doing substantial harm," said Moran. "The idea is to not let the American people know what’s going on."
DISCUSSING THE ONGOING national debate on immigration, Moran made it clear that he favored a Senate proposal on undocumented immigrant workers over a measure in the House of Representatives.
He said he opposed a wall dividing the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the idea is un-American. He vehemently opposed the proposal in the House bill that would make it a felony to be in the country illegally and penalize Americans who aid the estimated 11 million or more undocumented workers in the U.S. "The whole idea is wrong," he said.
"I would be an immigrant and, if necessary, an illegal immigrant [to come to the U.S.]," said Moran. "This wave of Hispanic immigrants reflects the very strength of the achievements that we have [in the U.S]. This is a group that is almost always working."
He also said he supported a requirement to learn English and a biometric identifier, like a thumbprint, for those entering the U.S.
Esther Pank of Reston asked Moran what he thought about a living wage. Moran said he supported it, adding that if it’s not done on the federal level, it ought to be implemented on the local level as has been done in Arlington and Montgomery counties and the City of Alexandria for contracted employees. "I think employers ought to pay a livable wage, and right now they are not, and taxpayers are subsidizing every industry that’s not paying it."
MANY STRONG candidates for federal elected office decline to enter races because of the large amounts of money required, said Moran. He said the increasing influence of lobbyists was affecting the system. "I think we’d get a lot more competitors if the barriers in the system were eliminated," said Moran.
Moran proposed a measure to limit campaign contributions to $100 and index it to the cost of living. "Politics equals money and money equals power. It didn’t used to, but it does now," he said. In addition, he suggested that campaigning should be restricted to the three months after Labor Day.
Others, including Abbie Edwards, an AAUW board member, asked what he thought would happen in this year’s elections. Moran predicted that in the next few years, but perhaps not 2006, the country will become "much more progressive."
"This administration went so far to the right, that [their philosophy] is going to be rejected," said Moran.