Corruption is as American as apple pie, or so it would seem. A casual survey of the political and corporate landscape in recent weeks alone provides a troubling reminder that corruption is endemic to our way of life:
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is facing a Senate ethics probe for accepting two free trips to a Dominican Republic resort on the private plane of a Florida doctor suspected of Medicare fraud. Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was released from federal prison in January after serving more than five years for corruption, while another former governor, Rod Blagojevich, has 14 more years to go on his conviction for demanding cash in exchange for an appointment to President Obama's former Senate seat.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is a target of a federal investigation into campaign-finance corruption, while former Michigan Supreme Court justice Diane Hathaway pleaded guilty to bank fraud for concealing assets in a real estate transaction
Meanwhile, the Justice Department accused Standard & Poor's Ratings Services of intentionally inflating its ratings of dubious bond issues in 2007 that later imploded and cost investors $5 billion. And mega-bank JPMorgan Chase was accused in federal court in Manhattan of having duped investors by selling them troubled home loans bundled into complex securities that later went bust.