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Was Speaker Pelosi’s ‘swamp’ a Black thing?

August 27, 2010

by Harry C. Alford, NNPA Columnist

Are the ethics charges against Congresswoman Maxine Waters intended to intimidate other Black leaders who might think of doing something for their people? – Photo: AP
(NNPA) – It was a very proud moment in the career of Nancy Pelosi, a child of a Baltimore, Maryland, mayor and the wife of a millionaire wheeler dealer. Here she was bringing down the gavel on the U.S. House of Representatives and calling it to order as the first female Speaker of the House. In setting her platform, she concentrated on corruption of all things. How do you police corruption in a chamber of politicians? It is very hard to do, in fact, impossible.

You just have to deal with it as it emerges. There are too many backroom deals, too much cigar smoking, lobbying and bartering to prohibit some of the body from going over the line. Corruption is a byproduct of politics and ruling the masses. So when the new Speaker said she was going to “drain the swamp of corruption,” we all laughed.

The problem was she wasn’t talking about corruption per se, just some of it. Let’s say, the “colored” portion. She planned to go after a few members from the Black side to set the example and cause less damage to the base, as Black folks are going to vote Democratic come hell or high water.

Little did the Congressional Black Caucus know that they were being placed in the crosshairs of the new “rifle scope.” Since that declaration, there have been eight congressional ethics investigations. All eight have been against members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The biggest reason for that could be the new head of the Office of Congressional Ethics. It is none other than the infamous Porter Goss. Porter Goss is an old CIA hack who later became a congressman. His tenure with the CIA goes back to the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the early years of the Castro Cuban Revolution.

Things really came to a head when Honorable Maxine Waters and the late Juanita Miller McDonald, both California Democrats, alleged that crack cocaine infiltration into the United States started in Los Angeles with the assistance and blessings of the CIA. The proof is evident and clear but the investigation was in the hands of the House Intelligence Committee, which was chaired by none other than the retired CIA hack Porter Goss.

This confrontation was fierce. But, like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, the American public was left with no closure. We know the deed but the perpetrators walked clean. No justice then and now we have the “fox” watching the “hen house.” Eight investigations and all Black suspects with Porter Goss in charge – what else would we expect?

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was going to “drain the swamp of corruption,” all eight Congress members charged with ethics violations have been Black. – Photo: Steven Senne, AP
Just how Porter Goss can oversee the investigation of Congresswoman Maxine Waters in light of the above is way beyond my imagination. He should have recused himself immediately but no, he is knee deep in it and it just isn’t fair or proper. Is Nancy Pelosi in on this political hit as well? It makes us wonder, doesn’t it?

Maybe it could be that Congresswoman Maxine Waters passed a brilliant piece of legislation that will set up technical assistance offices for minority and women business owners in matters dealing with financial agencies such as Treasury, FDIC and Comptroller of the Currency. Did this set them off?

She stepped up in the fashion of Adam Clayton Powell and Parren J. Mitchell. Could this be the lesson they want to show other Black leaders who might think of doing something for their people? In any event, it stinks and stinks be damned.

The Honorable Charles Rangel is a documented, bona fide American hero. They now want to take him to the “cross” for loose books and things like a plane ticket one of my friends bought him to come and speak at an organized meeting. Meanwhile, Pelosi with her family and others are flying in corporate jets all around the world with impunity and no fear of questioning.

People, there is “trouble in River City” (D.C.) and we need to rise up and protest it. When they knock down our elected officials, it wounds democracy and all that it stands for.

Former convicted Congressmen Rostenkowski, Traficant, Cunningham and others did horrendous crimes. To link our elected officials who may have failed to cross their “t’s” or dot their “i’s” is way over the top. It sends out the wrong message to our youth who may one day want to lead and run for office.

It also says that white folks don’t commit crimes – they are only done by Blacks – and that is just a lie.

There is no organization larger than the Congressional chambers of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives where so many millionaires coalesce and become richer even though they don’t work, just make law. However, the lowest economic rung of the congressional ladder is that of its Black members. It is there where they want to keep us.

Harry C. Alford is co-founder, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®, Contact him at

4 thoughts on “Was Speaker Pelosi’s ‘swamp’ a Black thing?

  1. Brian Crowell

    All the evidence points to Obama. How typical the black media of all places continues to cover
    for him. Black folks haven't been this weak since the reconstruction. When is economic justice going to cease to be a black issue and become a people issue?

  2. JGalt

    This article is typical of someone who wants to profit by giving Blacks an identity as victims. The more they remain polarized the better for those whose power is dependent upon milking them. Don't let them see that separating them and making them dependent robs them of any chance to make a better life for themselves and their children. This article is laughable. Sometimes heroes have clay feet and it does no good to give them a pass on following the rules or everyone else will thing the rules don't apply to them either. While Rangel may get away with it a normal person Black, White or Brown will ruin their life copying the behaviors that have gotten Congressmen Rangel and Waters in hot water.

  3. Mike U.

    The wildly disproportionate numbers of black congressmen who are under investigation can only be explained in one of two ways:

    Maybe Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat leadership are closet bigots. They're just haters out to get them uppity negroes. Does anyone really buy that? Where's the evidence? Hey Harry C! Is it too much to ask for at least one name of a white congressman who is guilty of funneling the people's money to their spouse or close family while the Ethics Committee turns a blind eye? Statistics tells us if there are eight black caucus members that are potentially tainted, there must be..what fifty or sixty non-blacks? Just one name!

    Or is more likely that there is a pervasive sentiment among the black political class that (if caught) they can always beat a hasty retreat under the political cover of professional apologists like Harry C. Alford? We are not talking about people who stumbled accidentally across ethical and legal lines despite their best efforts ensure a clean incumbency. We are not talking about ignorant or unsophisticated people.

  4. Mike U.

    Charlie Rangel knows (and has always known) the number of rent controlled apartments to which he is entitled under the law. He didn't acquire the other three the same way a pair of pants fresh out of the dryer acquire a gym sock. He did it knowingly. He knew it was technically illegal but in the calculation of risk vs. reward he knows he has a firewall that non-black politicians lack. The exact same thing can be said for Congresswoman Waters.

    So long as the black power elite can rely on the black community to reflexively circle the wagons regardless of the severity of the charges or likelihood of guilt, they will continue to cross the line again and again. One has to ponder just what does a black celebrity have to do in order to lose the support of the knee jerk apologists! We know a double homicide doesn't suffice.

    If Rangel or Waters (or any of the other six black congressmen under ethics investigation) were to fall, are there no capable black politicians ready to take their place? We know that's not true. It's time for the black community to demand more from their leaders.


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