by Jim Nintzel
As if the relentless barrage of hit pieces from Sen. John McCain wasn't bad enough for Republican J.D. Hayworth: Now Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has put the would-be U.S. senator on the list of Crooked Candidates 2010. Here's what CREW says about him:
Mr. Hayworth served in the U.S. House of Representatives for twelve years before losing his 2006 bid for reelection in part due to his ethics issues. While in Congress, Rep. Hayworth drew intense criticism for his extensive ties to Jack Abramoff and for employing his wife to run his political action committee (PAC). Rep. Hayworth’s ethical issues were documented in CREW’s 2006 report on the most corrupt members of Congress. After losing his seat, Rep. Hayworth hosted a conservative talk-radio show, but he left that job earlier this year to run for Senate.
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.