Simmering under the surface of a torpid Washington summer is another congressional scandal in the making with more explosive potential than the check-bouncing House bank. Since it is thus far in the sparring rounds, it has not attracted a great deal of attention. And it may not amount to much more than partisan jabs with a few bloody noses on well-known faces. But because one of the faces is very well known, the possibility of serious political damage is real.
The House Post Office, a branch of the U.S. Post Office but operated by House of Representatives employees under House control, was a cesspool of political patronage, gross incompetence, flouted regulations and pandering to influential members. That much is clear from a report by a special bipartisan House task force. Like the House bank, the post office was created to perform a necessary function but was perverted into a service bureau whose principal goal was to do favors for House insiders -- most, but not all of them, Democrats.
What is not yet clear is whether there was outright theft in the post office scandal. Some members seem to have bought an awful lot of stamps, considering that almost all their official mail requires no postage.