WASHINGTON -- Democrats accused Republican congressional leaders of corrupting the government, and said yesterday that their party had higher ethical standards.
''Under Republican guidance, America has truly been put up for sale to the highest bidder," Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, said in her party's weekly radio address.
Congress was consumed last week by the corruption scandal around Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty and who is cooperating in an inquiry.
Politicians from both parties have rushed to unload donations from Abramoff or his clients, while others have decided to keep such donations, insisting they did nothing wrong.
Slaughter painted the Abramoff case and an earlier guilty plea by former Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, as part of a pattern of misconduct by Republicans under lobbyists.
''Sadly, the legacy of Republican rule has been the fundamental degradation of our democratic institutions and the abandonment of our core principles," Slaughter said.