Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins and the Trump swamp

USA Today

Shame used to be a bigger deal.

Who can forget then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's weepy apology for ducking work to visit his Argentine paramour in 2009? Or cyclist Lance Armstrong confessing to Oprah Winfrey in 2013 of living "one big lie" about his use of performance-enhancing drugs?  Public figures actually were humiliated when caught red-handed. These days, not so much. Judging from two recent cases on Capitol Hill, if shame isn't dead, it's on life support.

Earlier this month, Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was indicted on enough insider trading charges to put him away for 150 years after he allegedly called his son from a congressional picnic at the White House to tip him off on confidential corporate information. Collins has denounced the charges as "meritless" and says he looks forward "to being fully vindicated and exonerated." Then there's the breathtaking brazenness of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and his wife, Margaret, who are accused of callously using campaign donations like their own personal checking account, according to a 47-page federal indictment returned last week. "I would suspect that many of the people who gave a $20 donation did so ... because they liked what he promised to do in office. They were not sending the $20 so that Congressman Hunter could buy himself a pair of golf shoes," says Brendan Fischer, with the non-partisan watchdog group Campaign Legal Center.

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