Corruption in Ward 5, Washington DC, and Elsewhere

Some of you readers know that Harry Thomas Jr., a DC City Council member from my ward (5), recently pleaded guilty to stealing about $350,000 from city taxpayers and citizens, and that the theft started almost as soon as he took office.
I was one of the ones who didn’t take the accusations very seriously.
As I wrote earlier,

I have to confess that for a long time I didn’t take the accusations about Thomas stealing money from us, the taxpayers and citizens. Obviously, lots of others didn’t pay attention, or believed nobody could do such a stupid and petty thing, or that “all politicians skim a bit, so this is just the pot calling the kettle black”– or one corrupt politician accusing another. We were wrong to NOT pay more attention and to agitate about this. (not that we all don’t have too many issues going on in our lives anyway)
So I’m really glad that Day and a few others stuck with the story and pursued it all the way.”
I later wrote this, as well:
Seems to me that a lot of folks knew what was going on. If Day, who was an outsider, could figure it out, then clearly a number of others knew about it as well. Perhaps the city traded information from those folks on HTJr, for immunity from prosecution? It wouldn’t be the first time! I can think of a number of cases right here in DC, and nationally, and I bet that all of you can think of other examples. Interestingly enough, organized and political and financial crime in Japan operates very very differently. I’m not going to say better, nor that it’s worse, but it’s very, very different. Interesting article in The New Yorker this week on that – about an American/Japanese reporter named Adelstein, about their yakuza…
Our legal system seems to thrive on the principle of getting one rat to squeal on another rat, so to speak… But of course, what this means, is that a lot of folks (the squealers) DO get away with all sorts of stuff, as long as they can be “persuaded” to speak out against a common, but hopefully larger, criminal that the legal system for whatever reason has decided to go after. Whether these informants/informers are less bad, it is still true that crime most certainly does pay quite well to a lot of folks, and that they get away with it for quite a long time — for many, their immunity and their ability to keep their corrupt loot, is a lifetime deal in fact if not in theory. A couple of years in Club Fed, or an embarrassing week in the press, in exchange for a fortune worth BILLIONS? Obviously a lot of foks thinks that’s a great deal, one very much worth taking.
My suspicious nature, i guess, always makes me cringe when I meet politicians and businessmen in their fancy suits or outfits that would cost me about a month’s takehome pay when I was working full time; and they have closets full of these fancy suits or outfits. And the fancy cars. And the fancy houses and condos and vacations to all kinds of remote or popular locations around the world. And the fancy purses and booze and entertaining and so on and so forth. All that stuff is extremely expensive, and it’s awfully hard to afford much of it on a real person’s salary or wage, earned honestly. 
Published in: on January 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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