Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid assailed the Republican-led Congress for what he called its ethical and institutional failings.
"I believe this is the most corrupt Congress in the history of
this country," Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview published in
Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Not only corrupt ethically, but corrupt in not having
institutional respect for what our founding fathers established ...
Whatever the White House wants, they try to deliver," Reid said.
Reid also criticized Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist,
suggesting he's a rubber-stamp for the Bush administration.
"I like Bill Frist as a person. The problem is you can't have
the leader of the Senate chosen by the White House," Reid said.
"When he got this job, he had had limited experience on the
Senate floor. And he was leaving. He had term-limited himself. So
he has no institutional integrity ... He doesn't feel as strongly
about the Senate. He does whatever the White House wants him to
do," Reid added.
Frist spokeswoman Amy Call declined to comment.
Ron Bonjean, communications director for House Speaker Dennis
Hastert, cited sweeping budget and defense agreements announced
Sunday by congressional leaders.
"The Senate minority leader's lack of actual ideas and a
positive agenda has caused him to go haywire with negative partisan
statements to try to distract from the amazing accomplishments of
this Congress," Bonjean said.
Caught in a recent wave of ethics investigations and indictments
are Frist, R-Tenn.; former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay,
R-Texas; and Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House
Administration Committee. All have denied any wrongdoing.
Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., resigned after
pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for
steering government work to defense contractors.
But several Democrats figure prominently in Justice Department
inquiries. The investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff could take
down lawmakers from both parties as well as members of the
The only regret Reid acknowledged about his first year as
minority leader was calling President Bush a loser in a May speech
to a class of Las Vegas students. He later issued an apology.
"I felt that I made a mistake, and I tried to rectify it as
quickly as I could in calling the president a loser because it was
to the wrong audience and it was just the wrong thing," Reid told
"It was a bunch of high school kids and I felt real bad about
that. That was not good," he added.
Reid, who suffered a ministroke in August, said he's not worried
about a relapse and the only lifestyle change he has made is that
he goes to bed a half-hour earlier.