Mike Espy's sordid record as a swamp thing

The Mississippi run-off for the Senate is shaping up the last chapter in the wretched midterm saga, and it's getting ugly.  The press is out there making a big deal about Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith's offhand use of the term "public hanging," which it is playing up as a gaffe.  This being Mississippi, the first thing that comes to the New York Times' mind of course is "racism," despite having nothing more than the common term to work with.  But rest assured: they are making a big deal of the turn of phrase.

Here's what they are ignoring:

Mike Espy, her Democratic rival, has a grotesque record as a swamp thing, drawing from one trough in exchange for influence-peddling after another.  One hand washes the other, and boy has it been lucrative.  Not just lucrative, but with taxes for little people.

Look at this thorough and disgusting investigative report from the Washington Free Beacon:

Mike Espy, the Democrat vying to capture a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, paid off more than $267,000 in outstanding income taxes shortly after undertaking a lucrative lobbying contract with an African despot accused of crimes against humanity.

Espy, a Clinton-era cabinet official who resigned over allegations of financial and ethical impropriety, has spent the past two decades cashing in on his political connections as a trial lawyer, lobbyist, and commentator.

Throughout those roles, Espy reported an annual income exceeding $761,000, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate Ethics committee.

Despite the high income, Espy has had nearly eight different tax liens filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service for failing to pay income taxes throughout the 1990s and 2000s.  Several of the liens date back to income Espy earned in 1992 while serving as a member of Congress and extend to the entirety of his tenure leading the Department of Agriculture.

He's one of those guys who goes into Congress a pauper and somehow comes out a millionaire, padding fees and exchanging influence, which is frankly something held in public trust.  Like that sort of thing going on?  Well, there's Mississippi's candidate, a swamp thing extraordinaire, determined to play all the swamp games that disgust taxpaying voters.

The Times is obviously going to ignore this, but the Mississippi voters should not.  There is nothing new being offered by Espy in his campaign – just the same old Washington power-gaming that makes its denizens so very rich.

Espy's competition needs to raise this as an issue because the swamp press won't.  She shouldn't be on her backfoot over stupid little gaffes, issuing apologies and taking up debate time with it.  Espy is an absolute reptile of swamp expertise and, given his smarmy superciliousness, is convinced it's not going to be noticed by voters.  This one needs to be noticed.

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