If Senate hopeful J.D. Hayworth doesn't already want to deliver a firm kick to the balls of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff', he should.
Hayworth's entire campaign's been marred with -- among other things -- his ties to Abramoff and the corruption-based hits just keep on comin'.
The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington unveiled its list of this election cycle's most crooked candidates, and Hayworth is front and center with 10 other candidates the organization deems "crooked."
Hayworth's was actually the face the group used on its press release announcing its list of crooked candidates. Check it out here.
See what the group has to say about Hayworth below.
While in Congress, Rep. Hayworth accepted donations to his campaign and leadership PAC from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients. Rep. Hayworth also used Mr. Abramoff's skyboxes five times without reporting the costs in his Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. Rep. Hayworth's failure to report the skyboxes as campaign contributions violated federal election law, and Rep. Hayworth was later forced to repay the skybox owners. Rep. Hayworth was later cleared of any additional wrongdoing in the Abramoff scandal.
Rep. Hayworth's ties to Abramoff also enriched his family. Between 1999 and 2007, Rep. Hayworth's wife, Mary, worked as the sole paid employee of TEAM PAC, his leadership PAC. During that time, Ms. Hayworth was paid over $140,000. Additionally, $83,000 of the PAC donations came from Abramoff-related interests. Given that the PAC's bookkeeping was farmed out to an accounting firm, Ms. Hayworth's role in the PAC was unclear. Rep. Hayworth terminated the PAC in 2008.
Others on the list include Florida Senate candidates Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist, who actually are running against each other.
South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene made the list after winning that state's Democratic primary without having so much as a Web site or doing any sort of fund raising.
Check out the full list here.
Absent from the list, though, is McCain, who's had some of his own ethics issues in the past.
We called Peter Bjork, the CREW member who organized the list, to see why McCain's not gettin' any, um, love for his involvement in the Keating Five scandal. He didn't immediately get back to us but it seems being 21 years removed from the scandal -- combined with a failed presidential run -- is enough to keep your name off of CREW's wall of shame.
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