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CREW's First Annual Turkey Awards

"In truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on." --Ben Franklin

Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

We all know the bald eagle is America's national bird, but many people forget Ben Franklin lobbied for a different choice; Franklin preferred the turkey.

"In truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

Had Franklin gotten his wish, the modern American Thanksgiving table might look far different than it does today, as would the English language. We certainly wouldn’t be calling people of questionable morals "turkeys."

But Franklin lost the argument, and as a result there are plenty of turkeys in Washington D.C. these days. So, we figured we’d highlight some of the best of the worst with CREW’s first ever Turkey Awards!

First Place: The Federal Elections Commission

The FEC gets our Turkey Award for not taking action this election season, despite watching millions of dollars funneled into political advertisements. Coporations and shadowy fly-by-night organizations spent vast amounts of money this year without disclosing their donors.

Second Place: The House Ethics Committee

Just last week the House Ethics Committee found one of our Most Corrupt - Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) - guilty of 11 ethics violations. But did the committee miss the fact that there are 18 members of the House on the list coming back in January for the 112th Congress?

Tie for Third Place: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

Why on earth are two of the most corrupt members of the Senate not only currently sitting in office, but returning to Washington next year? Sen. Vitter will be returning to Congress despite a checkered past that includes soliciting prostitutes and misusing taxpayer funds to assist a staffer convicted of crimes. Meanwhile, Sen. Ensign has a closet full of skeletons, and is under investigation by the Department of Justice.

It’s because of supporters like you that CREW has been able to hunt down corrupt turkeys of all forms in Washington, as well as unmask those trying to influence elections with corporate cash. We need your help to tell the new Congress, loud and clear, that a stronger ethics process is vital. You can continue to help us build a better Washington by supporting CREW.

Thank you for all of your help this year,

Melanie Sloan
Executive Director
CREW