Whitecaps

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

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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.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Public Officials Accepting Bribes

Public officials who accept bribes or gratuities sometimes think because the dollar amounts are low or because the officials are from some remote geographic area, their illegal conduct will escape notice.

It doesn't work that way. Take a look at two news stories.

The first is a newspaper article from the December 8, 2006, Seattle Times. It was an Associated Press wire story headlined Indicted Alaska lawmaker accused of soliciting bribes in exchange for cooperation. The article reveals how an Alaska state legislator and a lobbyist were recruited by a consultant to act on behalf of the consultant's company in the state legislature. The alleged bribe was for "only" $26,000.

The article goes on to describe how the legislator and the lobbyist allegedly created a sham corporation to conceal routing the bribe to the legislator.

The article notes, "The seven-count indictment alleges that from July 2004 to March 2005, Anderson and the lobbyist received $26,000 from the consultant in exchange for Anderson's agreement to act on his behalf in the Legislature." By the way, the seven-count indictment was issued by a federal grand jury.

The second news story comes from CNNMoney.com, dated May 4, 2007, and headlined UPDATE:Alaska Officials Plead Guilty In VECO Oil Bribe Case.

That story recounts how the FBI investigated allegations against three Alaska lawmakers. The allegations ultimately led to federal grand jury indictments for charges including extortion, attempted extortion, bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

What is especially noteworthy, however, is that the dollar amounts of the alleged bribes were comparatively low: $8,993, $2,750, $2,600, and $3,000. The $3,000 was to be paid to one representative's relative for accepting a job with VECO.

The lesson to be learned in this is clear: The corruption of public officials anywhere is on the federal prosecution radar. Even if the cost of investigating and prosecuting far exceeds the dollar value of the bribes or gratuities involved, the public wants prosecution of corrupt public officials.

10 Comments:

Blogger E. H. said...

sorry, not buying. in fact i had a nice laugh. if public corruption is on the radar the operator must have taken a long vacation or else the only one with a screen is a guy named rove.

8:27 AM, May 07, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

E.H.,

Yes, you're probably right (especially about Rove). But if you're not ...

8:49 AM, May 07, 2007  
Blogger E. H. said...

still laughing.

10:33 PM, May 07, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

E.H.,

Still hoping!

6:13 AM, May 08, 2007  
Blogger E. H. said...

we can agree on 'hoping'

8:40 PM, May 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, I would like to know your opinion of Commissioners Tondee and Piazza granting Real Life Ministries a septic permit when everyone else has been denied.

12:27 AM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I wasn't at the BOCC meeting, so all I know is what the newspapers tell me I'm allowed to know. I wish hearings and meetings where things like this are discussed were televised so more people could watch. Based on what the newspapers told me I'm allowed to know, it sounds as if greed prevailed. I may have missed something, but I don't see that any organization, including a religious one, has some special entitlement to expand to the detriment of the surrounding community.

I've never been particularly impressed with federal, state, and local public officials and lawmakers who think religious organizations are somehow entitled to special considerations. Too many elected officials are unable or unwilling to differentiate between the business and spiritual sides of religion. When a religious organization applies to the state for something, the state's standards must be applied equally, not preferentially or differentially. I really don't care if the application came from a religious organization or a retail business or a residential developer. The applicable standards must be applied consistently.

Public officials who allow themselves to be intimidated or unduly influenced by religious organizations are too timid to hold public office. The same goes for news reporters, editors, and columnists who lose their news objectivity simply because of an organization's religious affiliation. News reporters must also distinguish between the business and spiritual sides of religious organizations. There are religious leaders who are saints in the sanctuary and crooks in the cloakroom.

So, after that very long-winded opinion, my final answer is that I just don't know. I wasn't at the meeting, and the news media did their usual poor job of reporting.

7:08 AM, May 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill for the informed comment to my question. I am sure there will many more questions when RLM starts to place their mega septic system over the aquifer.

Current law states that there can only be one septic system per household for every
five acres. RLM purchased 118 acres from Meyer. 118 acres divided by five equals 23.6 households. 23.6 times five members in a home equals 118 people.

RLM will need a septic system large enough to handle 12,000 according to their numbers. In my estimation that would constitute a bio hazard being placed over the aquifer. What do you think Bill?

1:00 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I think you've done your research and ought to go talk with the BOCC members. You've got some very reasonable questions that deserve answering. The cynic in me says it's likely the project manager has found a loophole big enough to bury an oversized septic tank in, but go for it. You're much better informed on this than I am.

5:27 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Bear in mind that Lifetime Ministries would be building a limited use facility, not homes and the usage would not be comparable. Even if and when the school is built - same arguement.

7:45 PM, May 10, 2007  

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