Forgeries are relatively rare in congressional politics. In Congress, issues like the confront lawmakers every day, with uneven results. Since the Watergate scandal, lawmakers know that it is easier to get caught today than it used to be: Cover-ups, white lies, and other euphemisms for political mistakes look downright sordid under the harsh glare of round-the-clock media coverage. In this era, the threat of public humiliation serves as a much more effective deterrent than ethics laws, virtue, public trust, or "inherent goodness". In taking the case of the forged stationery, the perpetrators were not particularly bright. But in the absence of any sanctions, punishment, negative publicity, or electoral retribution, they were able to get away with their transgression. Their experience proves that although they are risky, cover-ups still work—particularly if the Ethics Committees turn a blind eye to what they consider "petty" skullduggery. Is forgery a petty crime?.