Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Public Corruption Investigation

In its Wednesday, December 13, 2006, online edition The Tri City Herald (serving Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington) has a story headlined 2 ex-attorneys indicted in dollars-for-deals case. In it, Herald staff writer John Trumbo reports that a federal grand jury has indicted two Tri-City attorneys on various charges of theft, soliciting a bribe, bribery, and conspiracy. The story is worth reading for two key points.

First and foremost, the criminal allegations were investigated by federal authorities because The Tri-City Herald newspaper successfully pursued public disclosure requests and then published timely, factual stories. Clearly some local attorneys and Benton County District Court officials knew or should have known about the scheme, but they kept it quiet. It was not until the newspaper's reporting that some of the money allegedly being collected for a Kennewick youth program was being pocketed by the accused that things started happening.

Second, the indictments were issued by a federal grand jury after an FBI investigation. There was no opportunity for local authorities to intervene to circumvent the criminal justice process.

The allegations in this case, raised first because of diligent newspaper reporting, are the kinds of cases the FBI anti-corruption efforts are targeting nationwide.


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